‘Wish-list’ acquisitions boost for Cumbrian railway museum

By Geoff Courtney

THE owner of one of the country’s newest regional railway museums is celebrating the acquisition of two local railwayana items that have been on his wish-list for many years but had come onto the market only recently.

They are a venerable Maryport & Carlisle signalbox nameboard and a totem sign from the terminus of the Carlisle & Silloth Bay Railway, each of which will be on display in the museum throughout the coming summer season.

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Peter Rooke opened the West Cumberland Railway Museum in St Bees, on Cumbria’s coast south of Workington, nearly three years ago, shortly after retiring from his job as a civil engineer.

Closed for business: LMS Class 8F No. 48005 heads an Up freight train through Bullgill in October 1965, more than five years after the station closed to passenger traffic. A nameboard from Bullgill signalbox, which is just visible beneath the 2-8-0’s smoke on the left, recently surfaced at auction and was bought by Peter Rooke for display in his West Cumberland Railway Museum. CUMBRIAN RAILWAYS ASSOCIATION /037e19

He had been a collector of local railwayana for 20 years, and decided to set up the museum in a former police station in the village’s Main Street to display his large collection.

Among the exhibits are pre-Grouping posters, enamel and cast iron signs, signalling items, paperwork, and nameplates from industrial locomotives that worked at Whitehaven harbour and local collieries.

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Somewhat smaller, but rather older, is an 1847 Cockermouth & Workington Railway guard’s watch which, when bought by Peter at a GW Railwayana auction in November 2015, was described by auctioneer Simon Turner as “one of the rarest railway timepieces ever to surface.”

Read more in Issue 252 of HR – on sale now!

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