The Carlisle to Settle Railway

The Carlisle to Settle Railway

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The Settle to Carlisle Railway is one of the most scenic and impressive railways in the UK, with viaducts, tunnels and the wild scenery of the North Pennines, Eden Valley and Yorkshire Dales.


The Settle to Carlisle Railway was the last great mainline railway to be built in this country. Completed for passenger travel in 1876 by the Midland Railway Company, it had taken six years to build. For the 19th century engineers, the landscape presented a tremendous challenge to their ingenuity, skills and abilities.


Consisting of 72 miles of track with 21 viaducts spanning the ravines and 14 tunnels, the line was constructed by men who lived a harsh life in shanty towns, with little to supplement their manpower except dynamite. Advertised as the most picturesque route to Scotland, the Victorian and Edwardian travelling public took it to their hearts.

Private operators often organise steam hauled or vintage diesel hauled trains on the line. There are water stops at Appleby and Hellifield.
There are –

  • 380 numbered bridges (including 14 tunnels & 21 viaducts)
  • 20 stations (11 open, 9 closed)
  • 12 signal boxes (10 operational, 2 preserved (Armathwaite and Settle)
  • approximately 150 railway workers’ houses (all now in private ownership)
  • approximately 100 line-side huts (all disused and in various stages of decay)
  • one aqueduct (recently restored)
  • one original water tower (Settle) (recently restored as a home)

Most of the line, from Carlisle to Dent, is in Cumbria, with the section between Ribblehead and Settle in North Yorkshire.
Select a picture to find out more :

Railway stations
Railway Viaducts
Railway Tunnels
Railway Features


Steam Specials
Railway History
Railway Map
Web Links

Photos by Julian Thurgood and Jan Fialkowski: (see the above links for more photo albums)



See videos at various locations.
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