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24 September 2014

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Train pulling into Armathwaite Railway Station
Train pulling into Armathwaite

The Settle to Carlisle Railway

The Settle to Carlisle railway line - share you memories and pictures, hear our collection of archive interviews and try out our interactive map.

Settle to Carlisle Railway - audio

Take an audio trip along the Settle to Carlisle Railway, courtesy of BBC Cumbria. We've assembled a collection of interviews - archive and up-to-date - for all railway enthusiasts.

Select your audio at the top right hand side of this page, and see interview notes below.

Steam Train


For most young boys the summit of their ambition would be to stand on the footplate of a steam engine. BBC Bus reporter Natalie Mace got the chance to do it for real. The occasion was the visit of the Duke of Gloucester after it had made the thrilling run from Settle to Carlisle and Natalie caught up with the team that made it possible at Carlisle Station.

Kirkby Stephen Station

The Kirkby Stephen station in the south of the county spent years in a state of decay. Now the interior has been transformed into a new business and exhibition centre - complete with a couple of railway fanatics to take care of it. Syd and Barbara Jordan have taken over the day to day running of Kirkby Stephen Railway station.

Bell's Bakery

The line weaves its way past many businesses, some of which have converted redundant station buildings for their own use  -  but does the route itself serve them well? Michael Bell of Bell's Bakery says what Cumbria needs is a more significant transport network for any difference to be made to his working day.

Railway maintenance

Ivor Allonby is an 'Assistant section manager' based at Appleby station.
From checking the sleepers to sweeping up those troublesome leaves on the line - come rain or shine - he's out making sure passengers travel with peace of mind.

Signalman Dickie Birtle

Dickie Birtle is a signalman. He's worked on the line for the last 45 years and he invited us into his signalbox at Low House near Armathwaite - a place which has been part of his working life for the last four decades.

Conductor Craig Johnstone

In the 1980s protestors against the closure of the Settle Carlisle railway line won the reprieve they had spent five years fighting for. Many groups had been resigned to the fact it would close because it was thought maintaining the Ribblehead Viaduct was unviable. BBC Bus reporter Natalie Mace did the first commuter run of the day with Train Conductor, Craig Johnston, to look back at two decades of change on the line.

The railway riots


A small army of itinerant labour called Navvies wielded pick and shovel in appalling conditions for little money and lived in rough camps alongside the line. Many died in the desperate struggle to push the line through the tough terrain of mountain and moor. BBC Bus Reporter Natalie Mace found out about these unsung heroes  and how they became the centre of a murder investigation!

Armathwaite signal box

Mike Carrier worked the Settle to Carlisle line for four decades and he proudly showed BBC Bus reporter Natalie Mace Armathwaite's newly restored signal box.

Second World War

BBC Bus reporter Natalie Mace found out how this amazing railway found a new sense of purpose, as its strategic importance grew in keeping the home front supplied with vital war materials, and saw the railway busier than at any other time in its existence. Natalie began by asking Alan Earnshaw - who's made a special study of the line - what kind of human traffic would have been on the train in 1940.

last updated: 19/03/06
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