Through the Yorkshire Dales

The Settle & Carlisle railway is England's most scenic rail route, a set of shining silver rails from Leeds to Carlisle through the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  It was once the third main line to Scotland, built by the Midland Railway to carry its daytime & sleeper expresses from London to Glasgow & Edinburgh.  It was never as fast as the rival east coast & west coast main lines, British Rail steadily ran the line down in the late 1970s and tried to close it in the 1980s.  Saved from closure in 1989 after a long and determined campaign, it has since gone from strength to strength and is now a tourist attraction in its own right.  This page tells you how to visit & what to see.

small bullet point  A journey on the Settle & Carlisle

small bullet point  Route map

small bullet point  How to visit

small bullet point  Practical info: Train times & tickets


small bullet point  A brief history

small bullet point  A stopover at Ribblehead

small bullet point  The Hawes Junction accident of 1910

small bullet point  Watch the Settle & Carlisle video

A journey on the Settle & Carlisle

The journey begins in Leeds, Britain's fourth largest city.  The Leeds-Carlisle trains travel through Shipley, Keighley, Skipton & Hellifield, then join the Settle & Carlisle railway at Settle Junction. Below, we pick up the journey at Settle, a market town on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales where the serious scenery begins. See route map.

Settle station

Settle station, looking north from the footbridge.  Settle station is staffed (the only other staffed station between Settle & Carlisle is Appleby) and there's a souvenir shop.

Settle water tower   Settle signage

Settle water tower, converted to a private residence as seen on TV's Restoration Man.


Settle station, 236 miles from London, 72 miles to Carlisle.

Approaching Ribblehead viaduct

A Leeds-Carlisle train about to leave Settle.  The most scenic part of the journey is about to begin.

Scenery on the Settle and Carlisle railway

Scenery between Settle & Ribblehead as the Yorkshire Dales begin.

Ribblehead station

Ribblehead station, south of the viaduct.  Stop off to see the viaduct, visitor centre & for a beer or lunch at the Station Inn, see the Ribblehead section.

Approaching Ribblehead viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct, also known as Batty Moss viaduct, looking north on the right hand side of the train.

Looking back over Ribblehead viaduct

Looking back south after crossing the Ribblehead Viaduct, right hand side of the train.

Scenery on the Settle and Carlisle railway

North of Ribblehead Viaduct, left hand side of the train.

Scenery on the Settle and Carlisle railway

Scenery between Ribblehead & Dent, left hand side of the train.

Scenery on the Settle and Carlisle railway

More beautiful scenery approaching Dent, on the left hand side of the train.

Dent station on the Settle and Carlisle railway

Dent station, looking south from the road up Dent Fell.  It's the highest National Rail station in England at 1,150 feet (350m) above sea level and over 4½ miles from Dent village.  Get off at Dent for a bracing 9.2 mile 4½ hour walk to Ribblehead.  For more about this walk, see the How to Visit section.  You can rent Dent station as holiday accommodation,

Garsdale station, formerly Hawes Junction

Garsdale station, a beautiful & remote location known as Hawes Junction until 1932.  It was the junction for the branch line to Hawes until that line closed in 1959.

The Hawes Junction accident of 1910 occurred 1½ miles north of Garsdale, caused by a signalman's error made in the very signalbox you see here (on the down platform, left hand side going north).  If the story interests you, stop off and perhaps have a beer at the Moorcock in a mile along the road, read more about the Hawes Junction accident here.

Ruswarp the dog:  A statue of a dog sits on the up platform (right hand side going north, between the two buildings).  It's a remarkable story about a remarkable dog, read about Ruswarp here.

The old turntable:  300 yards north of the station on the left hand side going north, you can just make out the brick-built well of the old turntable, read more about the turntable & its Thomas the Tank Engine connection here.

Scenery on the Settle and Carlisle railway

Scenery between Garsdale & Appleby.

Appleby station

Appleby station.  The main building is on the left hand side.  There's a water tower & water crane on the right hand side as you enter the platforms, these were installed in 1991 to service steam specials using the line.

A farm seen from the Settle and Carlisle railway

Between Appleby & Carlisle.

Crossing the river Eden

River Eden south of Lazonby, one of two places the railway crosses this river.

Lazonby church

Lazonby church, approaching Lazonby & Kirkoswald station, on the right hand side of the train.

Carlisle station platforms

Arrival at Carlisle.

Carlisle station exterior

Settle & Carlisle trains usually use bay platforms 5 & 6 at Carlisle.  This is platform 6.

Carlisle station exterior

Carlisle station, or to give it its full title, Carlisle Citadel.

Route map

Settle and Carlisle railway route map


Click for larger map

More detailed map of the UK train network.

Highlighted = Settle & Carlisle route.

Green = scenic sections of line

Reproduced from the excellent European Rail Map with kind permission of the European Rail Timetable people.

I recommend buying a copy of the European Rail Map, with shipping worldwide.

European Rail Timetable and map

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How to visit

To explore the line more thoroughly

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Practical information

Train times

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

What are the trains like?

A Northern class 158 train at Settle

A Leeds to Carlisle train at Settle.

2nd class seats on a Northern class 158 train   2nd class seats on a Northern class 158 train

Slightly different seating fitted to two different Northern class 158 trains.

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A brief history

A stopover at Ribblehead

Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead station taken looking north towards the viaduct.

Ribblehead station tearoom   Ribblehead station visitor centre

Ribblehead station coffee shop & visitor centre.

Chimney of locomotive 48   Information about the chimney of No.48

The rusting chimney believed to be from engine No.48, the lead locomotive of the Scotch Express involved in the Hawes Junction accident, see belowLarger photo Larger photo

Ribblehead Station Inn   Pub food at the Ribblehead Station Inn

Ribblehead Station Inn for lunch or a beer?  It's on the main road at the foot of the station approach.

Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead viaduct taken looking west, on the short walk from Ribblehead station & Station Inn.

The Hawes Junction accident of 1910

Garsdale, the former Hawes Junction

Garsdale station.  Known as Hawes Junction until 1932, the signalbox where the fatal lever was pulled in 1910 is still in use with Network Rail, although Dent & Ais Gill boxes are gone.  It was under renovation in 2021.  Taken looking south.

Garsdale, the former Hawes Junction

The advanced starting signal, 500 yards north of Garsdale station.  When this signal cleared at 05:43 on 24 December 1910, two light engines took it as their own, shortly followed by the down express for Glasgow.

The Moorcock Inn, Garsdale   Railway cottages at Garsdale

Moorcock Inn, Garsdale.  The cellar was used as a temporary morgue and the Board of Trade accident enquiry was held here on Boxing Day 1910.


Midland Railway cottages next to Garsdale station.  Station Master Bunce lived at No.8 with the yellow door, Signalman Sutton at No.7 next door.

Garsdale, the former Hawes Junction

Major Pringle held the Board of Trade Inquiry at the Moorcock Inn on Boxing Day 1910.  Journalists waited here in the front parlour, only one or two allowed in to the inquiry, believed to be held in the snug to the right.  The bar is not in its original position.  You can still have a pint & some good pub food at the Moorcock Inn, a 20 minute 1-mile walk from Garsdale station.  The Inn also offers accommodation with good reviews.

Locomotives 549 & 48 at the head of the Scotch Express   Site of the Hawes Junction accident today

Locomotives 549 & 48 at the head of the wrecked Scotch Express, 1½ miles north of Hawes Junction, now Garsdale.


The same location, 110 years later.

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Watch the video

The video shows the whole journey from Leeds to Carlisle, partly on regular scheduled trains, partly on a charter train called the Staycation Express.

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