Engine Lonning

Engine Lonning is one of four nature reserves in Carlisle which are situated on ex-railway land. Originally the Carlisle Navigation Canal passed through this area to the Canal Basin on Primrose Bank, as it was then known. The canal closed in 1853 and Engine Lonning and the Canal Basin became the site of Railway sidings, Engine sheds, a coaling tower and watering station for the next 100 years until the rails were finally removed in the late 1960's.

A goods train from Silloth travelling through Engine Lonning (along the bed of the old canal) in 1923. Note the engine sheds and coaling tower. Click on the image to see a map of the sheds superimposed over the present reserve.

The Canal sidings have now become the Port Road Business Park, just to the east of Engine Lonning Nature Reserve. The Edinburgh Waverley line ran through Engine Lonning, crossing the river here on its way northwards and there is much industrial history hidden beneath the surface vegetation. See below.


The waterwheel pit which housed the waterwheel that lifted water from the Eden into the Carlisle Canal.

The path behind the pit is the Roman Wall National Heritage footpath which passes through Engine Lonning. Hadrian's cycleway (National Route 72) also follows this route which passes under the southernmost arch of the Waverley viaduct.
The footpath following the line of the Roman Wall through Engine Lonning. Hadrian's cycleway in Engine Lonning. Timbers from the fence on the footpath used by railway workers to access the site.
Part of the circular wall surrounding the engine turntable on Engine Lonning. Old railway sleepers appearing due to wear on the path. The corner of a building just off the path.
The southern arch under which Hadrian's Wall path and Hadrian's cycleway pass. This skewed arch is a fine example of Victorian engineering. The bridge follows a curved path as it crosses the river. This incredibly fine Roman gold necklace was found at Engine Lonning about 1860 when excavating the foundations for the viaduct. It is now in the British Museum.

Engine Lonning is now an established nature reserve through which thousands of visitors pass as they cycle or walk along the line of Hadrian's Wall.

The ancient history and more recent industrial history of this area is hidden and could be revealed and interpreted for those who pass through at a relatively small cost.

Industrial archeology students from the University of Cumbria could do a great job here.

The hideous barrier directly above on the viaduct. The same barrier seen from the nature reserve.