First Impressions: Recollections of Peter G. Davies

The following article was written by Peter G. Davies and was first published in the August 2011 issue of the FoSCL Journal.

My admiration for the Settle and Carlisle line extends back to 1958 when I first took a journey over the line from Carlisle to Leeds on the ‘Waverley’ express from Edinburgh to Leeds. We arrived in Carlisle behind a Class A3 Pacific, 60079 Bayardo. Engines were changed and two locomotives came on the front of the train, a class 5 4-6-0, and a Jubilee 45562 Alberta. We left Carlisle and soon we were heading south along the Eden Valley. Mountains came into view on both sides of the train and I became very excited. I had my head out of the train most of the way until I received my Settle and Carlisle baptism (literally!) on the water troughs at Garsdale.

From that time onwards, I began to appreciate the engineering works and the wonderful mountain scenery through which the line passed. I made several journeys over the line, travelling to and from Scotland, for a number of years. I then joined the Yorkshire Dales National Park as a Warden and led walks from the specially chartered Dales Rail trains.

It was, of course, not until 1982 that I became aware of the plans by British Rail to close the line. I became incensed by this and I duly joined the Friends in order to help save the line from closure. I became involved in the campaign helping with surveys and issuing objection forms to passengers. I also attended several of the public hearings and I addressed the North East and North West Transport Users Consultative Committees in both Carlisle and Leeds.

I then took a keen interest in the work of the Friends and I am Membership Secretary. The work of the Friends has continued since the reprieve of the line in 1989, and I am very proud to be a volunteer and to help in any way I can.