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Carnforth: the former wagon repair workshop

A Grade II Listed Building in Carnforth, Lancashire

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Latitude: 54.1288 / 54°7'43"N

Longitude: -2.7738 / 2°46'25"W

OS Eastings: 349529

OS Northings: 470605

OS Grid: SD495706

Mapcode National: GBR 9N2P.8P

Mapcode Global: WH83V.CHC4

Entry Name: Carnforth: the former wagon repair workshop

Listing Date: 15 February 1989

Last Amended: 18 August 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1342133

English Heritage Legacy ID: 355229

Location: Carnforth, Lancaster, Lancashire, LA5

County: Lancashire

District: Lancaster

Civil Parish: Carnforth

Built-Up Area: Carnforth

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Carnforth Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn

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Workshop built by the London and North Western Railway shortly after 1903 for maintaining railway rolling stock, subsequently forming part of the modernised Motive Power Depot built for the London Midland Scottish Railway in 1938-44, being the last British Rail depot closed to steam locomotives in 1968.


Former wagon repair workshop, circa 1903 for the London and North Western Railway.

MATERIALS: red brick with engineering brick to jambs and plinth; Welsh slate roof with continuous, glazed ridge lights; stone coping to gables.

PLAN: of two parallel ranges: a 13 bay range having a single through road and a 5 bay range to the west including an office, stores and blacksmith's shop. Extending to the south of the shorter range is a later structure clad in corrugated iron.

EXTERIOR: side walls are of pier and recessed panel construction with a continuous plinth and dentilated eaves. The forge is lit by a round headed window and served by a plain brick chimney. The large end openings have girder lintels, the gables walls above having inset panels imitating pediments.

INTERIOR: the through road retains its standard gauge track and the blacksmith's shop retains its forge. The roof structure is of timber principal rafters with metal ties, the upper part being raised and glazed to provide top lighting and ventilation.


In 1846 the first railway station was opened at Carnforth as a simple wayside halt. By 1880 it had become an important junction between the London and North Western Railway's (LNWR) London to Glasgow main line, the Furness Railway to Furness and the joint Furness Midland Railway to Leeds, with all three railway companies having servicing facilities for their locomotives at the junction. With the formation of the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) in 1923, Carnforth passed into single ownership, remaining an important junction and centre for the servicing and stabling of locomotives. In 1938-44 the LMS modernised the depot to conform to their standard depot layout developed in 1933, designed to efficiently service and stable large numbers of steam locomotives. Carnforth was the last Motive Power Depot in the country to close to steam locomotives in August 1968, finally closing to all British Rail traffic in March 1969. However from December 1968, Carnforth became a base for steam locomotive preservation, developing as Steamtown (a museum and steam locomotive restoration facility) and from the late 1990s forming the base of West Coast Railways which operates private charter trains hauled by both steam and diesel traction.

The wagon repair workshop was built for the LNWR shortly after 1903, being provided with a set of shear legs for lifting wagons in 1923 by the LMS. It is believed to be the only significant structure of the LNWR depot that survived the LMS modernisation in 1938-44. The building has remained in use as a facility for repairing historic rolling stock.

Reasons for Listing

The former wagon repair workshop at Carnforth is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity and survival: a well preserved, relatively rare example of a pre-First World War railway maintenance workshop;
* Historical: a London and North Western Railway building which survived the redevelopment of the Motive Power Depot in 1939-44, a historical marker of Carnforth's long connection with the railways;
* Group value: part of a remarkably complete survival of a steam-age Motive Power Depot, providing an interesting contrast with the modernist structures built subsequently by the London Midland Scottish Railway.

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