Settle to Carlisle Railway
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 took six years to build. For 19th century engineers, the landscape presented a tremendous challenge to their ingenuity, skills and abilities. Consisting of 72 miles of track with 17 major viaducts 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. Appleby Station, is just 2 minutes from the house, and is recognised as one of the most picturesque on the line. It gives you easy access to the Yorkshire Dales, or to Carlisle, which has plenty to offer the sightseer and shopper.
To understand the context of the line, it is necessary to go back in history to the 1860s. With the main East and West Coast Main Lines in place serving the key Anglo-Scottish market, the growing Midland Railway was encountering substantial problems in gaining co-operation from its rival companies. At that time there was only sharing of tracks by operators if they agreed because each company built, maintained and ran their own lines. The key rival prior to the Settle-Carlisle line is the London & North Western Railway, who met the Midland Railway at Ingleton, just a few miles from Settle. The Midland would request that its goods and passengers be carried by the London & North Western from there to Carlisle and Scotland. This 'agreement' was tenuous at the best of times and various sources recall tales of Midland passengers having their coaches attached to slow-moving coal trains for the journey to Carlisle, along with other devious tricks.
By 1865, the Midland had thought of the concept of the Settle-Carlisle and developed it. It applied to Parliament, and a Bill was passed to enable the line to be built. However, it seems that by 1869 relations had improved with the London & North Western and the Midland applied to Parliament for an Abandonment Bill so that they did not have to construct the line. Such was the high opinion of the Midland and its plans by the local population that Parliament refused the abandonment petition and the Midland were almost forced to build the line. Faced with this, one would have thought that the Midland would do things half-heartedly but as I am sure you will see, this is by no means the case at all. The relationship with the London & North Western deteriorated over time, so it was a good thing that the line was built in the way that it was.
(info taken from Settle - Carlisle Partnership website - click here to visit their site)
There are regular special train charters run throughout the summer, many pulled by classic Steam Locomotives, visit Kingfisher Rail Tours for details.
Crowdundle Viaduct, near Newbiggin
Eden Holidays - Holiday Cottage, Appleby, Eden Valley, Cumbria