The statue of Ruswarp in memory of Graham Nuttall


The first section of text below was written by Richard Morris in 2010 for the original 'History' page. The small photo-montage has been added subsequently by Mark Harvey. (Larger versions of the three component images are available in the SCRCA section - see Location Summary 256675.) The second section of text is an extract from the FoSCL Members' forum (which was taken offline at the end of May 2018). Some personal and off-topic information has been redacted from these extracts. (Redactions are indicated by . . . ).

Original Article

Photo: Statue of Ruswarp / Graham Nuttall memorial, Garsdale Railway Station
The Ruswarp statue / Graham Nuttall
Memorial on Garsdale Railway Station

The Settle-Carlisle Railway Line is one of the "World's Great Train Journeys", yet it came very near to closure in the 1980s. In response to this potential loss, 32,000 people and one dog (a fare paying passenger) objected. The dog was Ruswarp (pronounced 'Russup'), a Border Collie owned by Graham Nuttall, co-founder of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line. After years of campaigning, the line was reprieved in 1989 and, such is its popularity, its capacity has since been doubled. Trains now run 24 hours a day - a remarkable turn of fortune.

Graham Nuttall (aged 41) and Ruswarp (aged 14) were inseparable companions, and on 20th January 1990 they went walking in the hills. They failed to return. Graham's body was found on 7th April.  His faithful dog Ruswarp had stayed at his master's side for 11 winter weeks. The case attracted nationwide attention. The RSPCA honoured Ruswarp and were inundated with offers to care for him.  He lived just long enough to be at his master's funeral.

A bronze statue of Ruswarp was unveiled in 2009 to mark the 20th anniversary of the line's reprieve, its subsequent success and the loyalty of "man's best friend". Ruswarp sits on the southbound platform at Garsdale station, near to the summit of the line, and looks towards the hills and to a bench on the far platform, dedicated to the memory of Graham Nuttall. Garsdale was their favourite place. (See photo. To view larger version, click / tap on the thumbnail.)

Comments (extracted from the FoSCL Members' Forum)

Topic Posted on 2013/02/03

As well as being a member of STELLA, Graham joined other railway organisations, often only for one or two years, allowing his membership to lapse at renewal time. I can remember him being a member of East Lancs Railway Preservation Society, The Mold Line Action Group, the Branch Line Society & Westrail, the action group set up at the time of the closure of the Limerick - Ennis - Athenry - Claremorris Line, also in1976.

Comment Date: 2014/03/16

Graham had been a user of the local trains from Skipton before they were withdrawn in 1970, so when the Dalesrail started in about 1975 he became a regular user staying . . . at Garsdale when it became a weekend service. He later went on to accuse Barbara Castle of being the Transport Minister to sanction the closure of the local stations. After her rebuttal, he asked me if I could remember who the Transport Minister was at the time & I remember reading "The Castle Diaries" (part two) to try to find the answer. So Graham, a member of many rail user groups, spent a lot of his time on the Settle to Carlisle line - a line without a user group, a line being run down, with rumors of cuts & closure. So the scene was set for Graham to set in motion, the formation of "The Friends of Settle Carlisle Line Association."

Comment Date: 2014/03/16

Graham booked a room in Settle town Hall on 27th June 1981 for a public meeting. Graham was always short of money and would not have had sufficient to pay for the room and the necessary publicity, so he asked everyone he knew for donations towards the cost. All the people who gave received membership cards without formally applying to join . . . My diary for the 27th June recalls that I traveled on the 09:56 train from Skipton to Settle, then after the meeting went with Graham and David Burton to the Craven Heifer at Giggleswick for a pint or two before catching the 14:45 to Carnforth - but nothing of the meeting itself.