Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line

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 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

Signage at Horton-in-Ribblesdale station with Pen-y-ghent beyond.

News Items

Ribblehead: Footsteps in Time

What a glorious day at Ribblehead on Wednesday 19th June  and a lot of interest in the viaduct talk, the treasures of the shanty site and of our exhibition in the visitor centre. The exhibition attracts a wide group of visitors and tourists of all ages. We look forward to welcoming you all on our next event, Ribblehead Rocks, on 3rd July when we visit the site of excavation of the limestone used in the viaduct build and learn about then geology of the area. We will have our guest geologist with us, Bill Frazer. This is a more strenuous walk. 

Armathwaite Signal Box 125th anniversary

Join us at Armathwaite signal box on Tuesday 16th July for a day of celebration to mark its 125th anniversary.  

Signal box open 10 am to 4 pm with a lively talk given regularly throughout the day.  Safely enjoy the view of the line and its many exhibits and original features.  

There will also be a 7-mile guided walk at 10.30 am.  

Refreshments in the village hall.

Contact John Johnson 07759 593224 or [email protected].

Ribblehead Reborn

Ribblehead Reborn was a limited publication following the viaduct repairs in 1988-1991.  In a recent visit to Suno in Italy , the book was spotted displayed in the railway museum there by the now retired project manager of the repairs , Tony Freschini, who features on the cover and in the book. The museum team were delighted to meet him and posed for a photo with him.  Many features are similar to those displayed at Ribblehead visitor centre. We hope to establish links between us. 

Yorkshire Dales Explorer - Opening up the Dales!

Northern Rail have announced from Saturday 8th June, they will be running a twice-daily Saturday-only service from Greater Manchester through to the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle Line. Starting at Rochdale, the stations served includes Manchester Victoria, Bolton, Darwen, Blackburn and Clitheroe. The train will join the line at Hellifield and will terminate at Ribblehead. This new service will allow passengers to also catch a connecting train on the line from Ribblehead through to Carlisle.

User Group Activities

Train Services

We are continually monitoring Northern Trains's performance in detail:  punctuality, reliability and cancellations.  Every month this information is summarised and distributed to The Friends' board and Northern.  Read more.

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.

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.

Diary Dates

Forthcoming events from the FoSCL diary:

The Settle-Carlisle Railway Conservation Area (SCRCA)

A small group of volunteers is creating an illustrated guide to the Settle-Carlisle Railway Conservation Area (SCRCA). To find-out more - or to 'virtually explore' this unique and fascinating area - visit

    A montage of seven photographs taken within the Settle-Carlisle Railway Conservation Area (SCRCA).