Lune Valley Railway

Lune Valley Railway

Location : Tebay / Sedbergh / Kirkby Lonsdale / Ingleton

  • SD 616965 – Lowgill Viaduct
  • SD 630930 – Waterside Viaduct
  • SD 643909 – River Rawthey Viaduct
  • SD 693731 – Ingleton Viaduct

The Ingleton Branch of the North Western Railway, opened in 1860, went from Clapham, through Ingleton, Kirkby Lonsdale, Barbon, Middleton-on-Lune, Sedbergh and Lowgill, before joining what is now the West Coast main line, just south of Tebay. Passenger services ceased on 30th January 1954, and the line finally closed in 1967. It roughly follows the route of the River Lune from Tebay to Kirkby Lonsdale.
The most impressive features of the line are the railway’s three listed viaducts. These grand structures still dominate their landscapes and survive as memorials to the main line that never was.

Lowgill Viaduct
The Lowgill Viaduct in the Lune Valley, just south of Tebay (from the B6257)

If you travel south down the M6 or the West Coast Main Line over Shap, and look to your left as you approach the Lune Gorge, you will see the disused Lowgill Viaduct. This splendid eleven-arched and listed structure, built on a curve, once carried the line from Clapham and Ingleton, via Sedbergh, over a beck a short distance south of the long gone Lowgill Station. Directly under the viaduct is a road bridge, and next to this is a tiny packhorse bridge.
Between Lowgill and Waterside viaducts, the railway follows the route of the River Lune. The viaduct at Waterside, 1857-1861, is grade 2* listed, by Joseph Locke and John Errington, with a cast-iron central span . The viaduct at Lowgill, 1859 is grade 2 listed, and also by Joseph Locke and John Errington. The Lowgill viaduct consists of eleven semi-circular arches of 45 feet span. The height above the stream is 100 feet, and it is 620 feet long.
Waterside Viaduct
Waterside Viaduct, crossing the River Lune

The imposing arch of an iron bridge over the River Rawthey near Sedburgh now carries a gas pipeline.
The Dales Way long distance foot path from Ilkley to Bowness-on-Windermere passes under this bridge, and the Waterside and Lowgill viaducts.
In Ingleton (only 10 minutes drive from Ribblehead), the disused viaduct over the rivers Doe and Twiss, at 800 feet long and 80 feet high, still dominates the village, and is passed on the famous walk from the old railway station, now the Tourist Information Centre, to the Ingleton Falls. The River Twiss from Kingsdale and River Doe from Chapel-le Dale combine to form the River Greta just past the viaduct at Ingleton
Ingleton viaduct
Ingleton viaduct

Clapham station still serves the line from Leeds to Morecambe, and Tebay, no longer with a station, is on the route of the West Coast main line, between Oxenholme and Penrith Stations.
Aerial photos by Simon Ledingham.
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