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.
FoSCL is on the look out for a new Treasurer as current Treasurer, John Ingham, has decided for personal reasons not to apply for re-election at the next AGM. It would be ideal if the new Treasurer were to be appointed before the next FoSCL year end at 28/02/21.
For five days, from Saturday 24 until Wednesday 28 October 2020, the Settle and Carlisle line between Settle Junction and Kirby Stephen will be closed.
Network Rail will be replacing two underbridges, Banks and Forsters, which are located along the route between Settle and Blea Moor.
In addition, Network Rail will also be competing the final stages of the major refurbishment on the Grade 2 listed Ribblehead Viaduct, which started in the Spring.
Regrettably we have been forced by the COVID-19 regulations to close Settle Signal Box to visitors until further notice. It is a small enclosed space and there is no way that people can visit and remain socially distanced from our volunteers who would normally be present. We hope that announcing this on the web site will avoid disappointment for anyone visiting Settle and hoping to be able to view the Box.
As soon as we are allowed to reopen we shall let people know on the web site and via social media.
We are delighted to say that The Ribblehead Visitor Centre is now open every day from 10am until 4pm. Thanks to our volunteers and staff for making this possible
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.
Our toilet will also be open!
Dent Station, England’s highest mainline railway station building - standing at 1,200 ft above sea level, has been purchased by the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line.
From 14th September we have 6 trains each way on weekdays including reinstated early morning through trains. Compared with the pre-COVID timetable we are still lacking the 1518 and 1818 departures from Leeds. To cater for the schoolchildren returning to Settle in the afternoon, an extra bus service has been put on leaving Skipton at 1600, arriving Settle at 1635 and Ribblehead at 1700.
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/