Carnforth Station Heritage Centre and the Brief Encounter Refreshment Room opened
on 17 October 2003 following 3 years work to renovate the derelict buildings of Carnforth
Station. We celebrated our 10th anniversary in 2013 and would like to thank the
organisations listed for their generous support.
We welcome visitors from all over the world, who come to enjoy the nostalgia of the
station, which has been restored to it’s 1940s glory when the Refreshment Room was
used as the setting for David Lean’s film “Brief Encounter”.
Carnforth Railway Station was opened in 1846 by the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway
Company and was originally just a single platform. In 1856, a small station was
built following the connection of the Furness and Midland Railway lines. A year later
a new station and small engine shed were constructed. On 1st August, 1880, the station
was rebuilt at a cost of £40,000.
The station was completely rebuilt in 1937 by the London Midland and Scottish Railway
Company, financed by over £53,000 of government-funded money. A 890 ft long platform
was added for the Furness trains, and the longest unsupported single piece concrete
roof in Britain was erected. Carnforth developed into a bustling junction linking
stations across the North West from Cumberland through to Leeds.
During the two World Wars thousands of servicemen passed through Carnforth Station
en route to duty overseas. In 1945 David Lean filmed his romantic classic “Brief
Encounter” starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. Carnforth was chosen by the
Ministry of War Transport as it was remote and safe from attack. Filming had to take
place at night between 10pm and 6am so as not to interfere with daytime train operations.
The demise of steam and radical reorganisation of the railways by Dr Beeching in
the 1960's led to a gradual rundown of the station. The mainline platforms were closed
down and physically removed in 1970 prior to electrification of the West Coast Main
Line. Carnforth was then reduced to a branch station and the buildings gradually
fell into disrepair.