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The early 19th century saw the arrival of railways in Whitehaven. The Whitehaven Junction Railway operated from Bransty Station at the North side of the town, and ran North to Carlisle. The South side of the town was served by the Whitehaven and Furness Junction Railway which connected with Barrow in Furness to the South from "Newtown", Preston Street. There was no link to the two railways except for a single mineral line which ran through the marketplace and connected with the harbourside rail network. This was never intended to be used by passengers, who had to detrain at either station and walk over Hospital Hill. An act of Parliament prevented use of the line on market days: Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays between 7am and 3pm. Outside these hours, horses pulled goods wagons through the town, sometimes as many as 300 to 400 daily.
It was decided to build a tunnel through Hospital Hill (giving a through route to and from Workington) 1333 yards long, which opened in July 1852 after two years of construction. Joint use of Bransty Station for passengers was agreed that year and Preston Street became the terminus for goods traffic. Further agreement was for joint use of rolling stock and a new station for passengers only was built at Corkickle at the South entrance of the tunnel by the Furness Junction Company.
Apart from routine inspection and maintenance, the next major work was the relining of the tunnel, whixh was done by the night shift working over a period of 10 years from 1948. The crew entered the tunnel after the last train had cleared and were out again before the first train on the following day. A celebration was held at Corkickle on 29 July 1958.