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Settle-Carlisle line: Tornado powers 12 scheduled services

media captionBritain's newest steam locomotive, Tornado, crosses the landmark Ribblehead Viaduct.

Timetabled services on a world-famous railway line have been powered by steam for the first time in decades.

Tornado, the newest steam locomotive in Britain, will pull 12 Northern services on the Settle-Carlisle line over three consecutive days.

It is part of celebrations to mark the upcoming reopening of the line after landslides closed a long stretch.

The line takes in the Yorkshire Dales and passes over Ribblehead viaduct before entering Cumbria's Eden Valley.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe steam train will pass over the Ribblehead viaduct several times over the three days

As it happened: Scheduled steam service back on UK rails

The Tornado is the first mainline steam engine to be built in the UK since the 1960s.

image copyrightPA
image captionIt took 18 years for a group of enthusiasts in Darlington and Doncaster to build the £3m Tornado 60163

The eight-carriage trains will run two return journeys a day between Appleby and Skipton from Tuesday to Thursday (14-16 February).

image copyrightPA
image captionThe £3m Tornado 60163 can achieve speeds of 75mph (120km/h)

Northern Rail said tickets were "all but sold out" with no guarantee passengers could board the train without a reservation.

Paul Barnfield, of Northern Rail, said: "We always knew the first timetabled steam services in the UK for 50 years would be extremely popular, but the demand for tickets has been phenomenal."

It took 18 years for a group of enthusiasts in Darlington and Doncaster to build the £3m Tornado 60163. It can achieve speeds of 75mph (120km/h) and it was completed in 2008.


Danny Savage, BBC North of England Correspondent

image copyrightPA

This is more than just a novelty. For over a year the Settle to Carlisle route has been severed in Cumbria by a huge landslide, with Northern wanting to give the route a high-profile boost before the reopening.

Laying on the first timetabled, turn-up-and-go steam services in nearly half a century is just the ticket.

It was on the Settle-Carlisle line that the last steam passenger train ran in August 1968 and rail enthusiasts will see this opportunity as a bargain.

An adult standard day return between Appleby and Skipton costs about £17 and for that you get a ride behind Tornado in "proper" carriages. Expect the services to be hugely popular.

The Appleby to Carlisle stretch of line closed in February 2016 after a 500,000-tonne landslip.

It is due to officially reopen on 31 March.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionAbout 6,000 passengers will travel on the Appleby-Skipton steam service during the next three days

Settle-Carlisle Railway

  • Construction began 1869 and ended 1876
  • 6,000 labourers worked on building the railway
  • Runs for 72 miles between Settle in North Yorkshire and Carlisle in Cumbria
  • Handles 1.3m passenger journeys a year
  • Features 20 viaducts and 14 tunnels
  • Dent Station, at 1,150ft (350.5m), is the highest mainline station in England
image copyrightNetwork Rail
image captionThe landslip at Eden Brow was caused by heavy rain

Related Topics

  • Carlisle
  • Settle
  • Appleby
  • Skipton

More on this story

  • Landslip-hit Carlisle-to-Settle rail line set for March reopening

  • How the iconic Settle-Carlisle railway line was saved