Its 73-mile length offers a great way to explore some of England’s most stunning landscapes all in one go…

The construction began in 1870 and took six years to complete, with the line opening to passengers in 1876.  The landscape presented the line’s engineers with significant obstacles, which required the construction of 21 viaducts spanning the ravines and 14 tunnels to go through the hillsides. All were built by hand by some 7,000 navvies, many of whom lived in numerous shanty towns that sprang up close to the more remote sections of the line.

Tornado leaving Bleamoor tunnel

Tornado leaving Bleamoor tunnel

To this day you can explore the remains of several of the camps close to the foot of the Ribblehead Viaduct. These camps were called Batty Wife Hole, Sebastopol, and Belgravia. In the nearby graveyard at St Leonard’s Church in Chapel-le-Dale, if you take the time to explore you will find around 200 burials of men, women, and children who died living in theses shanties and a memorial to those who worked on the line.

As you can imagine over the years the line had its ups and downs, even being threatened with closure in the 1980’s due to the lack of passengers. But happily, with this threat came something of a renaissance and now passenger numbers are in the millions with stations bustling all year round with those wanting to experience some of the most dramatic landscapes in the UK for themselves.

So why not join them and take in the majesty of the 24 arched viaduct at Ribblehead, the stunning views from Dent Station (England’s highest, some 1150 feet above sea level), enjoy the sweeping views of Mallerstang and Pendragon Castle (with its links to Arthurian legend), the gently rolling Pennines looming above the picturesque Eden Valley and the might of Carlisle Castle as you make for the great Border city, all from the comfort of a train?