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 www.railtourinfo.co.uk 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.
Here's an update on the timetable as we understand it at the moment. As from 22nd June we have 4 trains each way weekdays, plus an early morning turnround at Ribblehead to take commuters into Leeds, and a rail replacement early bus into Carlisle. There is also a return bus from Carlisle at 1745.
We are pleased to announce that the Friends’ shops at both Settle and Appleby stations are open again on most days. Our usual ranges of books, DVDs, bespoke gifts and much more is on sale. We would ask you to pay by card if at all possible (Settle) and of course wear face protection in line with government advice. Our volunteers are all equipped with the necessary protection and hand sanitiser is available too.
New timetable from today 6th July. Early morning commuter services are back, bus into Carlisle (better than nowt) and train Settle-Leeds. Following evidence of demand by key workers from Appleby and Settle, FoSCL worked closely with Northern Trains to get these services put in. We’ll keep pressing for further improvements.
This Summer, Rail Charter Services presents an exclusive tourist-centred Charter Train service operating daily between Skipton, Settle & Appleby.
Monday 20th July – Saturday 12th September 2020
Photo: Darren @Rail_Photter
After the emergency timetable which saw us down to 4 trains a day in each direction, and no early morning trains into Leeds or Carlisle from the Settle-Carlisle line which meant that our key workers couldn't get into work, we are very gradually seeing an improvement. FoSCL has been working closely with Northern Trains towards reinstatement of our early morning trains, and from 22nd June a temporary bus service has been running into Carlisle from Kirkby Stephen calling at all intermediate stations. As a bonus Northern have put on a return bus from Carlisle at 1745.
We are delighted to say that The Ribblehead Visitor Centre will open on Saturday 4th July. We will open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am until 4pm initially. We hope to extend the days we open later.
We have some outside seating but there is plenty of space outdoors and glorious views We will have take away drinks and snacks in the cafe together with souvenirs, books etc from our shop.
The Exhibition will also be open but visitors will need to ensure they comply with social distancing guidelines.
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.
There are no dates in the diary at the moment. Here's a photo to fill the space.
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 https://scrca.foscl.org.uk/