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The Settle-Carlisle Railway

Paul Salveson


The line from Settle to Carlisle is one of the world’s great rail journeys. It carves its way through the magnificent landscape of the Yorkshire Dales – where it becomes the highest main line in England – descending to Cumbria’s lush green Eden Valley with its view of the Pennines and Lakeland fells. But the story of the line is even more enthralling.

From its earliest history the line fostered controversy: it probably should never have been built, arising from a political dispute between two of the largest and most powerful railway companies in the 1860s. Its construction, through some of the most wild and inhospitable terrain in England, was a Herculean task. Tragic accidents affected those who built, worked and travelled the line.

After surviving the Beeching cuts of the 1960s, the line faced almost certain closure in the 1980s, only to be saved by an unexpected last-minute reprieve. This book describes the history behind the inception and creation of the line; the challenges of constructing the 72-mile railway and its seventeen viaducts and fourteen tunnels; threat of closure in the mid-1980s and the campaign to save it, and finally, the line today and its future.


The Crowood Press



Publication Date:

2019 September


Paperback; 245 x 190mm




Colour photographs throughout

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