Settle to Carlisle railway
The Settle to Carlisle line is one of the most scenic railway journeys in England. It forged a strategic link between London, the Midlands and Scotland. The Midland Railway Company began construction on the line in 1869 and it took 7 years to complete. Approximately 6,000 men worked on the line. It was the last main line railway in England constructed almost wholly by hand. The line follows the natural pathways through the hills of the Pennines. There are 14 tunnels and over 20 viaducts. It opened to passengers on the 1 May 1876. There were two attempts to close it, in the 1960s and the 1980s, both causing local and national outrage. In 1989 the government decided the line should stay open. They made this decision after protests by the public and a rise in passenger numbers. Read about the history or check train timetables on the Settle-Carlisle Railway website.
The South Durham and Lancashire Union Railway opened a single line railway in 1861. This went from Barnard Castle to Tebay. Stockton and Darlington Railway ran the line, followed by North Eastern Railway (NER). At Smardale the line passed underneath the Settle to Carlisle line. The Smardale Gill area of the dismantled line is in the Settle to Carlisle Conservation Area. It is a National Nature Reserve. In 1989 The Northern Viaduct Trust restored the spectacular Smardale Gill Viaduct. Cumbria Wildlife Trust own and manage The Smardale Gill Nature Reserve.
The NER had a station at Kirkby Stephen East. This station closed in 1962. The Stainmore Railway Company now run a Heritage Centre and operational railway here. The station at Kirkby Stephen East formed a key junction. There were routes to Appleby, Penrith and Tebay. The line also went east to Barnard Castle and Darlington over Stainmore Summit. At Warcop there is a 5 mile heritage railway based on a section of the Stockton and Darlington line. The Eden Valley Railway Trust carried out this restoration.
Settle to Carlisle Railway buildings
The Settle to Carlisle Railway is testimony to a great age of endeavour. Striking buildings and trackside structures enhance the engineering achievements of the line. This comprehensive development is unusual, most of it has survived intact. It portrays an exceptional, complete picture of resolute Victorian enterprise and social welfare. The buildings are unique and have a special relationship with each other. This relationship also includes the surrounding landscape. It represents a group value, acknowledged by the creation of a Conservation Area. Leaflets show the features that give the buildings and stations their unique character. They show us the importance of suitable upkeep and reinstatement of lost features. We can then conserve these unique buildings for future generations.
Settle to Carlisle Railway maps
These maps show the sections of the Settle to Carlisle line through Eden district.
For maps of the Settle to Carlisle Railway outside Eden district see:
Settle - Carlisle Railway Conservation Area - Armathwaite Area (PDF: 238Kb)
Map showing the area of line from its entry into Eden District in the north, past Armathwaite to Coombs Wood.
Settle - Carlisle Railway Conservation Area - Baronwood Tunnel Area (PDF: 282Kb)
Map showing the line from the Armathwaite Tunnel, through the Baronwood Tunnels to the area near Staffield.
Settle - Carlisle Railway Conservation Area - Lazonby Area (PDF: 222Kb)
Map showing the area of the line as it passes Kirkoswald, goes through Lazonby and crosses the River Eden near Great Salkeld.
Settle - Carlisle Railway Conservation Area - Langwathby Area (PDF: 226Kb)
Map showing the line crossing the viaduct near Langwathby Mill and passing Langwathby. It passes the convergence of the River Eamont and River Eden.
Settle - Carlisle Railway Conservation Area - Culgaith Area (PDF: 341Kb)
Map of the line from the Culgaith Tunnel, past Newbiggin and the Gypsum Works near Kirkby Thore.
Settle - Carlisle Railway Conservation Area - Long Marton Area (PDF: 217Kb)
Map showing the line as it passes Long Marton.
Settle - Carlisle Railway Conservation Area - Appleby Area (PDF: 211Kb)
Map showing the line as it passes through Appleby-in-Westmorland.
Settle - Carlisle Railway Conservation Area - Great Ormside Area (PDF: 243Kb)
Map of the line as it crosses the Ormside Viaduct and passes Great Ormside. The line passes through the Helm Tunnel and over Griseburn Viaduct.
Settle - Carlisle Railway Conservation Area - Crosby Garrett Area (PDF: 212Kb)
Map showing the line as it crosses the Crosby Garrett Viaduct and down to the Smardale Viaduct.
Settle to Carlisle Railway Conservation Area - Smardale Gill Viaduct Area (PDF: 195Kb)
Map showing the disused section of the line in the Smardale Gill National Nature Reserve. It extends down to the Smardale Gill Viaduct.
Settle to Carlisle Railway Conservation Area - Kirkby Stephen Station Area (PDF: 192Kb)
Map showing the line passing Waitby Common to Kirkby Stephen West Station.
Settle to Carlisle Railway Conservation Area - Birkett Tunnel (Wharton) Area (PDF: 191Kb)
Map showing the line as it passes through Wharton parish to the Birkett Tunnel.
Settle to Carlisle Railway Conservation Area - Mallerstang Common Area (PDF: 173Kb)
Map showing the line as it passes Outhgill and crosses Mallerstang Common.
Settle to Carlisle Railway Conservation Area - Aisgill Moor Cottages Area (PDF: 181Kb)
Map of the line as it climbs Mallerstang Common to Ais Gill Summit. At this point the line is 1169 feet above sea level and the highest point on a main line in England.