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The Lakes Express

This LMS/LMR express was covered in a Model Rail article in April 2009 (see Articles Index), since when more info has come to light. I've focussed on the portions.

If anybody can help about the workings, not least the locos used along the way and to deliver the portions, please get in touch!

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An undated H.Gordon Tidey picture, possibly from the early or mid-1930s. Leaving Oxenholme behind an ex-LNWR 4-4-2 Whale "Precursor Tank", No 6811, one of the group with slightly smaller driving wheels.

The three-coach gangwayed formation is a mixture of LMS P.1 and P.II carriages, which as far as I can make out are:







Express lights are being carried and it has been suggested that this was a portion off the "Lakes Express", but this is suspect as that portion was made up to five carriages with catering. Indeed, it looks like the Keswick portion, but on the wrong line, of course. I am leaving it in this topic for time being pending a better identification. Photo: Real Photographs.

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A mediocre day sees the driver of "Jubilee" No 5737 Atlas looking back as the "Lakes Express" sweeps past. Judging by the date of construction of this "Jubilee", the picture was taken in summer 1937 at the earliest, and probably that year, given the 1938 picture below with more modern stock for the leading portion.

The leading three coaches are the Keswick and Workington portion and comprise two Period I coaches and a single P.III. They are hard to identify but appear to be (BCK, TK, BTK) or possibly (BCK, CK, BTK) - the latter tallying with closest roster I have, for 1934 (BTK, CK, BCK). More modern P.III coaches follow in the body of the train. Photo: Author's collection.

Additional info - Thanks go to Richard Adamthwaite who has come forward to identify it as an UP train at Hest Bank station, north of Lancaster, with the main station buildings just off camera to the right. At one time the siding beyond the platform where the vans are assembled was used to house a rake of camping coaches. In the distance the flat expanse of land led to Morecambe Bay.

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LMS Compound No 1174 leaves Oxenholme and takes the branch to Windermere with that portion from the "Lakes Express" in the mid to late 1930s.

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It's a murky day in 1938 and, for the photographer, a shallow depth of focus as "original Royal Scot" No 6137 The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire) ascends Shap with the Keswick & Workington portion of the "Lakes Express". Recently built Period III coaches have been provided and the formation is (BTK, CK, BTK) with the equivalent of a whole bogie van for passengers' luggage. . Photo: Colling Turner, Photomatic.

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BR period

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Another undated picture but from around 1960, taken at Peat Lane on the WCML, a short distance north of Oxenholme as the Keswick & Workington portion gets away behind unnamed "Patriot" No 45513. In 1961 it was a Carnforth loco.

The stock has been modernised but was still ex-LMS:







* This P.I brake composite was upgraded and partially rebuilt in 1939-40 to P.III style. More on this later.

Photo: Colour-Rail.

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The Lakes Express pauses at Preston on 15th August 1963 with Crewe North's 46155 The Lancer in charge. Just visible behind the tender is a Stanier brake composite at the head of the portion for Keswick and Workington.


A 1960s view as 46229 Duchess of Hamilton breezes past Farington Curve Jc near Preston on 27.6.63 with "The Lakes Express". Clearly visible behind the tender is the final three-coach potion that will be taken on to Penrith and then sent to Keswick and Workington.

70053 Broughton

Later the same summer, on 26th July 1963, 70053 Moray Firth has the down "Lakes Express" near Broughton, a few miles north of Preston. Once again, the final three-coach portion to Keswick and Workington is clearly seen behind the tender.

In fact, 13 coaches can be made out which would have tallied with the roster for 1963:

3 - Keswick/Workington
5 - Windermere (with Restaurant Buffet)
4 - Whitehaven
1 - Barrow

As regards the loco, Moray Firth was one of three Britannias recently transferred from Holbeck to Crewe North.

70053 Lune Gorge

Later the same day on Friday, 26th July 1963, Moray Firth was captured racing through the Lune Gorge with the final Keswick & Workington portion of the "Lakes Express". The formation is as rostered (BCK, TK, BCK), all three coaches still ex-LMS P.III Staniers. Note that they were to different lengths: the TK 57ft, the BCKs either 60ft or 62ft. A passenger tank engine or an Ivatt 2-6-0 will take over at Penrith.

High summer weekends could see strengtheners added, and this leg north of Crewe operated by a Royal Scot, Patriot, Jubilee or Duchess.


A wonderful picture at Lambrigg on Friday, 13th July 1962 of the Up portion from Keswick & Workington, as rostered for three ex-LMS carriages (BCK, TK, BCK) of which one of the brake composites can be seen leading. In charge is Carnforth's Fowler 2-6-4T No 42359, normally employed as a banker at Oxenholme and sent to Penrith to collect the portion for attachment to the Windermere portion at Oxenholme.


A few years later as Stanier 2-6-4T No 42449 heads south from Penrith with the Keswick & Workington portion of the "Lakes Express". The loco had just taken over from an Ivatt 2-6-2T. The formation is as rostered (BCK, TK, BCK) but the outer coaches containing the 1st class seats have been modernised with Mk1 stock. The less important ex-LMS TK in the middle remained in place until 1964. The picture was misdated originally and appears to have been late summer 1963 or 1964.


At Oxenholme, the Windermere portion with the catering was added to the portion from Penrith and is seen here at the head of the southbound train on Saturday 3rd August 1963, powering away from Preston behind Britannia No 70025 Western Star


It's July 1965 in the last summer of the "Lakes express" and Fairburn 2-6-4T No 42105 brandishing its Express lights is attacking the last of the 1:204 ascent to Grayrigg with the Up portion from Workington/Keswick via Penrith. A very contrasty slide, with a purple cast that I have now corrected, it's hard to make out the stock except that it appears to be three BR Mk.1 coaches, per the roster that final year. The Up Loop is holding 5MT No 44832 and the ECS of an excursion. Photo: Colour-Rail BRM109 (deleted).


Thanks for help go to Richard Adamthwaite, Desmond Bowes, Tony Jenkinson and Barry Lane.

Other LMS passenger train formations and related topics are here:

LMS through portions

LMS brake composites

LMS Milk

Coal for Stonebridge Park

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