Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line

Leeds-Settle-Carlisle and the national rail network

This is the website of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line (FoSCL), one of several organisations supporting the Settle-Carlisle section of the main line from Leeds to Carlisle.  This is not a heritage railway, but part of the national rail network with its passenger trains operated by Northern Rail.  We do NOT run steam trains, but steam and diesel charters frequently travel along the line, see for details. 

Together with our partner organisations, we support the railway line that runs from Settle Junction in the south to Carlisle in the north, a total of 72 miles (115 km) in length.  The Settle-Carlisle partnership has adopted all ten stations between Settle and Carlisle, tends the station gardens and carries out minor maintenance work.  Three of the stations are leased from Network Rail and have a variety of uses intended to encourage people to visit the area.  For more information on the wide range of activities we undertake to promote and develop the Settle-Carlisle Line, see About Us

Signage at Horton-in-Ribblesdale station with Pen-y-ghent beyond.

News Items

Upper Wensleydale Railway

It is hoped that a reinstated junction with the existing  Leeds – Settle – Carlisle railway line at Garsdale (see photo) will allow ‘through’ trains to run from Hawes via Garsdale Junction, past the Yorkshire Three Peaks to Settle, then onwards through Hellifield and Clitheroe into Lancashire for Preston and Greater Manchester.

FoSCL members' newsletter

The Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line are producing regular emergency newsletters to be emailed out to members during the current emergency.  If you received the first one, you are a member and we have a valid email address which you have kindly provided.  If you are a FoSCL member but haven't received the newsletter, and would like to in future, please use the Contact Us form to tell us your email address.  We look forward to hearing from you.  


All events cancelled due to Coronavirus

It's now clear that no events in the Settle-Carlisle corridor will take place until at least July.  

This of course includes the Cumbria Easter Vehicle Rally and the Appleby Horse Fair which normally takes place in June.

The Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line AGM, which was scheduled for 18th May, is postponed indefinitely.  Members will be kept informed via the S&C Journal once we can get this printed - our printers are however now closed until further notice.

Guided Walks Cancelled

All FoSCL's Guided Walks are cancelled with immediate effect, following the government's latest guidance on self-isolation and social distancing.  We are sorry to have to do this but feel that it would be irresponsible not to.  

Our shops at Settle and Appleby are now closed, and the signal boxes at Settle and Armathwaite are closed to visitors.  

We hope we shall be allowed to resume our normal activities before too many weeks have gone by.

Customer Information Screens

Every one of the stations on the Settle-Carlisle Line now has Customer Information Screens installed.  Many have loudspeakers as well.  At Settle and Armathwaite these screens and loudspeakers work very well, providing much useful information for passengers.  However they are still only working on one platform, or not working at all, at all the other stations.  There are good reasons for this, which is after all an ambitious project requiring coordination between Northern Rail and Network Rail to complete the cabling required, the installation of a complex system and the testing of advanced

Appleby signal box repairs

Appleby signal box, officially known as `Appleby North` has been undergoing major structural and refurbishment work intended to extend the life of the asset into the mid 2050s. The work on Appleby box became necessary due to ground movement which resulted in the structure which dates from the summer of 1951 developing a lean to one side. The scope of the work also included drainage repairs and improved facilities for the signallers.

Social Media

Campaigns and Promotions

The Hellifield Clitheroe line: We have a long-running campaign to reinstate regular passenger services to Manchester along the existing railway line between Hellifield and Clitheroe.  The infrastructure is there, it just requires the will to run passenger trains along it! Read more.

Improvements to the passenger service: the new timetable in May 2018 was the biggest change in 25 years.  There are a few more services and on balance we think it's a step forward.  It could still be improved and we have an ongoing campaign to achieve this. Read more.

Diversions from the West Coast Main Line: the WCML is all too often blocked between Preston and Carlisle, usually due to a fault with the overhead wires.  Passengers are forced to queue for rail replacement buses, sometimes in the rain.  At Carlisle they clog up the parking area at the front of the station.  For several years now we have been campaigning for Virgin (now Avanti) and Trans-Pennine Express trains to be diverted via Clitheroe and Hellifield and along the Settle-Carlisle Line to Carlisle.  For planned engineering work Virgin used to do this, either using Voyagers, or Pendolinos hauled by their Class 57 Thunderbirds - which of course were sold off.  We have been faced with one excuse after another: basically it's too difficult or too expensive.  We shall continue the campaign...

Integrated Transport in the Settle-Carlisle corridor: we are strongly supportive of rural bus services which connect with the railway line. There is hardly any funding from either Cumbria County Council or North Yorkshire County Council.  FoSCL has contributed but we can't do it all ourselves.  An excellent and comprehensive paper on integrated transport has been written by John Carey, FoSCL Committee Member.  Read more.

Diary Dates

There are no dates in the diary at the moment. Here's a photo to fill the space.

Image removed.
An 'Up' infrastructure train top-and-tailed by a pair of Freightliner class 66 locos approaching Appleby station. Image courtesy of Carsten S. Lundsten.

The Settle-Carlisle Railway Conservation Area (SCRCA)

A small group of volunteers is creating an illustrated guide to the key railway-related structures and sites within the Settle-Carlisle Railway Conservation Area (SCRCA). To find-out more - or to 'virtually explore' this unique and fascinating area - visit

    A montage of seven photographs taken within the Settle-Carlisle Railway Conservation Area (SCRCA).