Settle and Carlisle line

The Settle and Carlisle railway is one of the most scenic lines in the UK.  In recent years it has gone through ups and downs with BR issuing a closure notice in the early 1980s because of necessary expenditure on repairs and falling traffic levels (allegedly perpetrated by BR themselves by diverting services to other routes to justify their closure decision!).  Happily, the fortunes of the line improved and repairs were undertaken, the re-opening of intermediate stations and new freight flows in the shape of coal from Scotland to the Yorkshire power stations.  The line has its own web site run by the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle line.


Click here for the full image (62kb) Arguably the most famous feature of the line is Ribblehead viaduct.  This photograph, taken on 20 September 1989, illustrates the changeable nature of weather in the area - one moment sunshine, the next overcast.  Not good for photography when it dulls over just as the train approaches!


Click here for the full image (79kb) A weekday innovation in 2003 by the passenger train operator Arriva was the re-introduction of locomotive hauled services. &nsbsp;One train a day each way was formed of top and tail Class 37/4s and four Mk2 coaches.  On 18 May 2004 37405 heads the 0949 from Leeds to Carlisle south of Cumwhinton (37408 is at the rear).  Arriva even went so far as to specially advertise the locomotive hauled services, not that the enthusiast brigade would need much persuasion to travel on the trains!


Click here for the full image (86kb) On the same day as the above picture, 37408 heads the 1333 Carlisle to Leeds near Culgaith (with 37405 at the rear of the train).


Click here for the full image (100kb) Although this photograph of 40056 running light engine at Carlisle on 24 July 1984 was not taken on the Settle and Carlisle line, there is an S&C connection ...


Click here for the full image (98kb) ... as 40056 has charge of the 1610 to Hull at Carlisle on 24 July 1984.  And yes, this was the length of the trains on the line at the time - a far cry from the two and four car Class 156s which form the mainstay of services during 2004!


Click here for the full image (59kb) Dramatic lighting conditions on 20 September 1989 as the sun catches 47488 heading the 0825 from Leeds to Carlisle just north of Moorcock Tunnel.


Click here for the full image (88kb) Not on the Settle and Carlisle itself, but heading for it, 47503 passes Long Preston on 20 September 1989 with the 1045 from Leeds to Carlisle.


Click here for the full image (99kb) Railtours over the Settle and Carlisle line have always been common, many of them steam hauled.  47767 is seen at Carlisle on 22 April 1995 with an SRPS railtour from Edinburgh (which had arrived via Hexham) which was to have featured A4 60009 "Union of South Africa" over the S&C.  Unfortunately, the steam loco was a failure and the Class 47 took the train via the S&C as far as Skipton.  There, another Class 47 (777) was provided for the run to Sheffield before a third Brush Type 4 (790) headed the train back to Edinburgh, which featured a non-stop run as far as Newcastle.


Click here for the full image (81kb) Other trains which have regularly traversed the line are diverted West Coast Main Line services.  Over the years the S&C has been a very useful diversionary route with services from Preston heading to Blackburn, then over a former freight only route to Hellifield via Clitheroe before reaching Settle Junction and making for Carlisle.  Motive power has most often been Class 47s but with the advent of the Class 57 as the Virgin thunderbird this type has appeared on these 'diesel drags'.  57304 is seen at Mallerstang Common on 2 March 2003 with the 1250 Glasgow Central to London Euston.


Click here for the full image (59kb) Also on 2 March 2003, 57305 passes Appleby with the 1428 Glasgow Central to London Euston.


Click here for the full image (80kb) At the time this photograph was taken, 19 September 1996, this freight flow, gypsum from Kirkby Thore was the only traffic originating on the line.  60002 is seen at Mallerstang Common with a southbound gypsum train.


Click here for the full image (87kb) Another West Coast diversion as a Class 221 Voyager DMU approaches Ais Gill summit on 2 March 2003 with the 1336 Glasgow Central to Cardiff Central.


Click here for the full image (76kb) Looking south near Ais Gill a Class 221 Voyager DMU working the 1151 Birmingham New Street to Aberdeen descends towards Kirkby Stephen on 2 March 2003.