FoSCL logoFoSCL is a Rail User Group and a Support Group. 

As a Support Group, we put a great deal of effort and of our own money into the preservation and maintenance of the Settle-Carlisle Line's unique heritage.  We do around 40,000 hours per annum of voluntary work.  At the national average wage this is worth around £500,000 per year to the Train Operating Company.  Over the past seven years, we have also invested in excess of £300,000 of FoSCL money into the buildings, station furniture and gardens of the Settle-Carlisle Line.  This has gone into projects such as the refurbishment of Appleby, Garsdale and Settle stations, and equally important into restoration and maintenance of Ribblehead Stationmaster's House and the stations leased by the Settle & Carlisle Railway Trust, that's Kirkby Stephen, Ribblehead and Horton-in-Ribblesdale.  Our investment has enabled an increasingly profitable holiday let business to be established, an excellent use of FoSCL's money. Recently, in conjunction with Network Rail and Northern, we have refurbished the waiting shelter on the down line at Ribblehead, a wooden structure which was in poor condition.

In 2015, updated in 2022, we published a colour brochure to publicise all the voluntary activities that we undertake: see the foot of this page.   

The Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line were originally formed in 1981 to campaign against a proposal to close this famous historic and scenic route, and in 1989 the Government decided that the line must remain open. Since then we have acted as a user group to improve facilities and services for passengers, and as a support group for the train operating companies. Eight stations have been reopened, station buildings have been refurbished, platforms raised and Victorian style lamps installed. We have restored and now maintain the disused signal boxes at Armathwaite and Settle Stations.

The new Northern rail franchise started on 1st April 2016.  It is operated by Arriva Rail North, under the brand name of Northern Rail.  For three years we were working on influencing the nature of the new franchise, first of all by talking to politicians and the Department for Transport, then by meeting the bidders. The Department for Transport's specification included a guarantee that the existing Leeds-Carlisle service would continue for the length of the next franchise, plus two extra Sunday services from 2018 and an extra late afternoon departure from Leeds from 2019. FoSCL was taking the lead here - no-one in government or the rail industry has the Settle-Carlisle Line as their first priority. 

We continue with campaigns to improve passenger services, as and when we have the resources available.  We do need more committed volunteers who will help us with this.

We are entirely run by volunteers. Nowadays our principal activities include:

  • Campaigning for more and better trains in the new Northern franchise.
  • Liaison with Northern on passenger services and Network Rail on railway infrastructure.
  • Regularly providing On Train Guides to enhance travellers' experience of the Settle-Carlisle Line.
  • Regularly leading Guided Walks from stations along the line and at the historic Ribblehead site.
  • Helping to produce and distribute promotional leaflets to boost passenger numbers.
  • Running shops at Settle and Appleby stations selling a wide variety of S&C related items and local produce. Some of these items are also sold in our on-line shop.
  • Looking after station gardens, providing heritage style benches and re-painting woodwork.

We do not run steam trains. This is not a heritage railway but a normal part of the national rail network with regular services between Leeds and Carlisle run by Northern Rail using Diesel Multiple Units. Steam trains are however occasionally run by specialist charter companies and you can find full details by visiting UK Steam.

Not already a member?  Do join us, .

As a member you will receive a quarterly magazine featuring news of and developments on the Settle-Carlisle Line. If you live outside the valid postcode area for the Dales Railcard, as a FoSCL member you can purchase a Dales Railcard through FoSCL.  For details of what the Dales Railcard offers, see  If you live close enough to the line and have a little spare time, we would be delighted to welcome you as an active volunteer; click on Contact Us if you'd like to follow this up.

This is the web site of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line and deals mainly with activities which are unique to us. You may have found your way here via the site. We have strong links with the web site, as we are very much part of a partnership with the Settle-Carlisle Railway Development Company and the Settle-Carlisle Railway Heritage Trust. You can find details of their work on the web site.

We hope that you enjoy looking round this web site, that you will come for a tour of England's most scenic railway and that you will consider joining the Friends. We look forward to seeing you.

Each organisation has its own web site. You are currently on the FoSCL site,  

Each organisation has its own social media accounts.  You can follow @foscl on Twitter, and FriendsSettleCarlisle on Facebook.