The station was built by the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway, and was opened on 17 December 1846. Although the station is now relatively quiet at one time this was the terminus for the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway and the North Eastern Railway's Eden Valley branch which joined with the Stainmore line at Kirkby Stephen providing connections to the East Coast Main Line at Darlington. There was also in the mid-nineteenth century a plan to connect Penrith by rail to the lead mines at Caldbeck and eventually joining up with the Cumbrian Coast Line near Wigton.
The station currently lacks a cafe. A 1863 Ordnance Survey plan shows refreshment facilities in the large room seen to the right on entering the building, but this is now used for storage.
The station was renamed from Penrith to Penrith for Ullswater in the early years of British Railways; and the name reverted to Penrith on 6 May 1974.
Up until August 2006 the station was probably unique in that although being a manned main line station it did not have electronic departure boards or TV screens depicting departures/arrivals but only a handwritten departure board in the waiting room/ticket office. It was also the last station in the UK where mail was collected by a moving train.
The station is operated by Virgin Trains, who refer to the station as Penrith The North Lakes.
Read more about this topic: Penrith Railway Station
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