One of Britain's best-loved and most scenic train lines, the iconic Settle to Carlisle Railway is a lasting monument to the skill and dedication of Victorian railway engineers. Begun in 1869, construction of the seventy-three mile long railway was undertaken almost entirely by hand and took seven years to complete as workers strived to surmount the physical challenges presented by the unforgiving landscape.
On its opening in 1876 the line's initial use was for freight transportation with passenger services added later that year. Today, having survived the threat of closure both in the 1960s and the1980s, the Settle to Carlisle line once more carries freight traffic, whilst visitors from around the world continue to experience what is probably England's greatest rail journey.
Experience the magic of the lands of ice and fire on a magical 12-day cruise aboard the CMV Magellan. Before setting sail to explore some of the remotest destinations in Britain, as well as the culture and nature found in abundance throughout Iceland, take time to discover the north of England, its cities, castles and heritage railways.
Scenic rail journeys bring to life the history and wild, natural beauty of Yorkshire and Northumbria on this wonderful eight day tour. Follow in Viking and Roman footsteps, visiting historic York, Chester's Roman Fort, Bamburgh Castle, Lindisfarne and the glorious Alnwick Gardens.
Enjoy a sumptuous break in stunning Northumberland. Based in the incredible medieval Langley Castle, we discover the Roman heritage of Hadrian's Wall, explore magnificent Alnwick Castle and journey on a charming heritage railway.
Delve into the north of England's past as an industrial powerhouse and understand the mechanisms behind its emergence during the Industrial Revolution. We see Saltaire, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester and Beamish - as we paint a picture of England's steam-powered past.
Enjoy all the Christmas cheer that Yorkshire has to offer based in the beautiful spa town of Harrogate. This festive holiday includes fantastic rail journeys, historic Ripley Castle, picturesque Fountains Abbey and the medieval city of York, adorned with seasonal decorations.
Experience a Unique Heritage Railway
The Settle to Carlisle Line takes in some of England's finest countryside, passing through the Yorkshire Dales and entering the county of Cumbria. As it leaves the delightful Settle, a market town since the thirteenth century, the train follows a narrow valley which takes it into the Yorkshire Dales National Park; a 680-square mile area of outstanding scenery, featuring dramatic limestone valleys, rolling dales and open moorland. As this vista broadens before the train, two of Yorkshire's celebrated 'Three Peaks' - Pen-y-Ghent and Ingleborough - can be seen.
Situated at the foot of the third peak, the Ribblehead Viaduct is one of the Settle-Carlisle journey's true highlights. Rising thirty-two metres above the floor of the Ribble Valley, this magnificent four hundred metre long viaduct features twenty-four arches and took four years to construct from an estimated 1.5 million bricks.
The train continues, via the Blea Moor Tunnel and the Dent Head Viaduct toward the small village of Dent whose railway station, which is actually situated four miles from the village, is the highest in England at an elevation of 1,150 feet (350 metres) above sea level. Beyond the next village, Garsdale, the train enters a series of tunnels, leaving behind the Yorkshire Dales National Park and entering Cumbria.
Amidst the rolling green hills of the picturesque Eden Valley the train wends its way through the towns of Kirkby Stephen, Appleby, Armathwaite ending at historic Carlisle.
Trains on the Settle to Carlisle Line
As the Settle to Carlisle Line forms part of a rail service running from Leeds to Carlisle the most common passenger trains to use the line are two-carriage diesel Sprinter trains, and these run at regular intervals every day until around 7pm. On special occasions, and particularly during the summer months, heritage steam or diesel trains may occasionally make the journey from Settle to Carlisle although these are usually run on a private-charter basis.
Interesting facts about the Settle to Carlisle Line
The Ribblehead Viaduct is a Grade II Listed structure and is situated in one of the wildest and most remote areas of North Yorkshire. The tunnel that immediately follows it, Blea Moor, is the longest of the line's fourteen tunnels, stretching just over 2,400 metres.
Carlisle's Citadel railway station, built in 1847, was designed by the celebrated architect Sir William Tite who also designed the Royal Exchange at heart of the City of London.