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British Industrial History

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Settle and Carlisle Railway

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Settle. Image published in 1894.
Memorial to those who died between Settle and Dent Head. Exhibit at the National Railway Museum.

The Settle–Carlisle Railway (S&C) is a 72 mile long main railway line in northern England. It is also known as the Settle and Carlisle.

1866 The Act to construct the Settle and Carlisle Extension of the Midland Railway was approved by Parliament.

1869 Construction started; the engineer in charge was Mr. J. S. Crossley of the Midland, assisted by J. Underwood and J. T. Thomson.

1875 The line was opened, enabling the Midland to reach Carlisle over its own tracks with benefits in terms of cost and speed.

It is now a part of the National Rail network. Apart from temporary diversions (such as due to the closure of the West Coast Main Line) all passenger trains are operated by Northern Rail.

The line runs through remote regions of the Yorkshire Dales and the North Pennines, and is considered to be the most scenic railway in England. The drama of its history and construction mean that it is regarded as one of the culminating symbols of Victorian enterprise and engineering.

The line runs from near the town of Settle, beginning at a junction with the line from Leeds to Morecambe, extending to the city of Carlisle close to the England/Scotland border. On the way the line passes through the town of Appleby and a number of small communities.

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