Settle-Carlisle iPhone app

Carlisle MP John Stevenson has launched the UK's first dedicated iPhone app to act as an on-train guide for passengers. Speaking at an event at Carlisle's Hallmark Hotel, he described the 21st century communication technology behind the app as today's equivalent of what the Victorians achieved when they built the railway network in the 19th Century.

The MP was talking to an audience of more than fifty drawn from local media and business leaders at the launch of the Settle-Carlisle Railway App. The guide is aimed at tourists and passengers travelling the line, and provides them with comprehensive information about its history, places to visit, and businesses which offer services such as accommodation and food. Alongside the directory, there's a unique audio guide to the railway, recorded by BBC Radio 4's Mark Holdstock. The commentary is synchronised with the journey through the use of GPS technology, and gives a fascinating insight into the construction and history of what has become known as England's most scenic railway.

The project was the inspiration of the Chairman of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line, Richard Morris, who approached leading Cumbrian app developer Creative Apps with the idea. The group's campaign in the 1980s was responsible for keeping the line open against the wishes of British Rail. Today they work alongside partners such as the Settle-Carlisle Railway Development Company and train operator Northern Rail to promote the line to tourists and rail enthusiasts around the world.

Richard Morris said, "We believe this is the first time that this latest technology has been used to provide passengers with such in-depth on-board information. We're delighted that we've been able to bring the project to fruition, and know that it will encourage even more people to enjoy this unique experience".

Drew Haley, Client and Stakeholder Manager at Northern Rail in Leeds, welcomed the release of the app. He said, "At Northern Rail we strive to offer the best service to our customers. This app allows us to go one stage further by enhancing the excellent on-board volunteer train guides organised by the Friends of the Settle-Carlsile Line. Now everyone with an iPhone can have their own virtual guide sitting with them, providing a truly personal service from Settle to Carlisle and back."

The launch was organised by Carlisle-based event management group CA Events, and guests were treated to a breakfast of bacon and sausage rolls. It comes at an important time for the line, which has just seen a timetable change to provide an early morning through link between Carlisle and Leeds in both directions. It's a move which attracts John Stevenson's approval as he works to build Carlisle's reputation as a business centre and tourist destination. The MP said, "The city has much to offer, and the fact that this app was produced entirely within the area is a sign that Carlisle is as capable as anywhere else of taking the lead in technological and creative innovation. Our tourist industry can only benefit from this type of initiative."
The Settle Carlisle Railway Guide app is now available free in Apple's App store.

Last updated by Richard Morris on 10/01/2014