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Steam on the Settle and Carlisle


Saturday 9 March 2019

A journey along the spectacular Settle & Carlisle Line is always a very special treat so we’re sure you will want to be with us for this springtime special, with the added bonus of steam haulage from York to Carlisle.

Our outward journey takes us via the East Coast Main Line to York. Here our steam loco will back down on to the train and will be in charge as we travel via Leeds and up the picturesque Aire Valley through Keighley to Skipton.

A few miles beyond we reach the famed Settle & Carlisle Railway and our long climb begins. Eminent 19th century engineers had declared that it would be impossible to build a main line railway through such a hostile landscape but the Midland Railway had other ideas. This was the last main line in Britain to be built by navvies working with their bare hands and only very basic implements. Many of the tunnels and viaducts took a full five years to build and men lost their lives working in this lonely place. The line survived a closure attempt in British Rail days; in more enlightened times its future is now secure for us and successive  generations to enjoy.

Having climbed to the line’s twin summits at Blea Moor and Ais Gill we begin our long descent into the Border City of Carlisle. The station is in the heart of this attractive little city and we have a leg-stretching break of around an hour and a half.

Our homeward route from Carlisle takes us right across Britain at its narrowest point, following the picturesque valley of the Upper Tyne. We rejoin the East Coast Main Line just south of Newcastle for our homeward journey.

Our rostered steam locomotive from York to Carlisle via the S&C is the splendid Gresley A4 masterpiece, 60009 ‘Union of South Africa’. Her main line ‘ticket’ will soon expire so this could easily be a final chance to enjoy this excellent loco as she tackles the gruelling gradients on this demanding route.

All timings are provisional and intended only as a guide.

StationDepartArrive
London Finsbury Park08.1522.20
Potters Bar (M25)08.3522.00
Stevenage09.0021.35
Peterborough09.3520.55