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Settle to Carlisle railway

The Settle to Carlisle line is probably the most scenic railway journey 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; the last main line railway in England constructed almost entirely by hand. The line is engineered to follow the natural pathways through the hills of the Pennines. There are 14 tunnels and over 20 viaducts. The line opened to passengers on the 1 May 1876 and has survived two attempts to close it, in the 1960s and the 1980s, both causing local and national outrage. Due to public protest and a big rise in passenger numbers, in 1989 the Government declared that the line should stay open. Read more about the history of the line, or check train timetables on the Settle-Carlisle Partnership website

Smardale Gill

The South Durham and Lancashire Union Railway opened a single line between Barnard Castle and Tebay in 1861. It was taken over by the Stockton and Darlington Railway and then by the North Eastern Railway (NER). At Smardale the line passed underneath the Settle to Carlisle line. The Smardale Gill section of this dismantled line forms part of the Settle to Carlisle Conservation Area and is a National Nature Reserve. In 1989, The Northern Viaduct Trust was formed to acquire, restore and maintain the spectacular Smardale Gill Viaduct. The Smardale Gill Nature Reserve is owned and managed by Cumbria Wildlife Trust. The NER had a station at Kirkby Stephen, which closed in 1962, and is now a small preserved railway site known as the Stainmore Railway Company. The station at Kirkby Stephen East (KSE), formed a key junction, with routes to Appleby and Penrith, to Tebay, and east via Stainmore Summit, to Barnard Castle and Darlington. At Warcop, a 5 mile heritage railway based on a section of the Stockton and Darlington line has been restored by the Eden Valley Railway Trust.

Settle to Carlisle Railway buildings

The Settle to Carlisle Railway is testimony to a great age of endeavour. The engineering achievements of the line are further enhanced by striking buildings and trackside structures. This unusually comprehensive development has survived largely intact and portrays a remarkably complete picture of resolute Victorian enterprise and social welfare. These buildings and their relationship with each other and the surrounding landscape represents a group value now acknowledged by the creation of a Conservation Area. A series of leaflets illustrates the features that give the stations and buildings their character. They show how suitable upkeep and reinstatement of such features, where lost, can conserve these unique buildings for future generations. Copies are also available, free of charge, from the Department for Communities.

Settle to Carlisle Railway maps

The following maps show the route of the Settle to Carlisle line through Eden District. They have been broken down into more easy to view sections of the line.

For maps of the Settle to Carlisle Railway outside Eden district see:

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