Welcome to the
Settle-Carlisle Railway Conservation Area
The Settle-Carlisle Railway Conservation Area (SCRCA) is a 78-mile section of mainline railway in northwest England that is considered to be an area of special architectural and historical interest.
In a bid to preserve the character and appearance of this historically important section of Britain's national rail network, it was officially designated a conservation area in 1991.
It is the longest conservation area in the United Kingdom and it covers the entire railway (including all of the associated historic structures) between Hellifield Junction in North Yorkshire and Carlisle Citadel Station in Cumbria.
The adjacent map shows the location of the SCRCA and the photo-montage below gives a flavour of what the conservation area has to offer.
As evidenced by the photographs in the montage below, this fascinating railway passes through - and provides easy access to - some of the most attractive and dramatic scenery in England.
The Settle-Carlisle Railway Conservation Area:
architecture and landscape in perfect harmony.
If you've plenty of time, make yourself comfortable, then use one of the links below to take a virtual grand tour of the entire conservation area:
- Virtually Visit the key operational sites and standing structures within the SCRCA.
- Virtually Explore the SCRCA using interactive maps or aerial imagery.
- Delve into the details via the comprehensive Gazetteer.
If you've limited time, or if you're seeking ideas for a real-world visit, check-out the following 'highlight' locations. They're all easily accessible by train.
- Hellifield Station
- Horton Station
- Ribblehead and Blea Moor
- Dent Station
- Kirkby Stephen Station
- Langwathby Station
- Lazonby and Kirkoswald Station
- Armathwaite Station
- Carlisle Citadel Station
A series of general articles accompanies and expands upon the location-specific information.
The SCRCA Project
The goal of the SCRCA Project is to facilitate and encourage the interpretation and public enjoyment of the Settle-Carlisle Railway Conservation Area and to provide an information resource that will assist those responsible for managing it.
However, it is important to stress that, as independent volunteers, our role is purely supportive. We have no direct responsibility or liability for any part of the conservation area or for any of the structures located within it.
If you'd like to learn more about the SCRCA Project, start with the Introduction and Overview page.
To learn more about conservation areas generally and the reasoning behind the SCRCA Project, see the Background and Context page.
The SCRCA Project is entirely dependent on volunteers and other contributors. If you think you might be able to help us, please refer to the Plea for Information and Images and Getting Involved pages in the first instance.
If you'd like to get in touch with the SCRCA Project team, you can use the web-portal to Contact Us.
The SCRCA Showcase
(a.k.a. What's new?)
New location-specific images and brief snippets of location-specific information are uploaded to the SCRCA web-portal on a fairly frequent basis and they appear automatically in the relevant location summaries. However, for the benefit of our regular virtual visitors, they can also be accessed 'out of context' via the following pages:
26th October, 2020
Two fascinating contemporary accounts of navvy life during the construction of the Settle-Carlisle Railway have been extracted from digitised versions of the annual consolidated volumes of 'Chambers's Journal':
- "RAILWAY-MAKERS" (originally published on Saturday January 13th, 1872): An overview of the life of a navvy in general, including their typical classifications, earnings, accommodations, food & drink, morals, etc.
- "A ‘NAVVY’ BALL": (originally published on Saturday March 8th, 1873): An account of the original writer's encounter with the family who ran a 'tommy-shop' at Batty Wife Hole (the main navvy settlement at Ribblehead), complete with tales of the navvies he encountered - or heard about - during his stay.
For details of similar material, see Primary source material and contemporary accounts relating to the construction of the Settle-Carlisle Railway.
30th August, 2020
David O'Farrell has kindly provided introductory articles covering two more of the rail-served mineral extraction industries along the Eden Valley, see:
23rd August, 2020
The Settle-Carlisle Railway has a long association with the gypsum industry in the Eden Valley. This fascinating subject is explored in a series of introductory articles written specifically for the SCRCA web-portal by David O'Farrell - see:
- The Gypsum Industry and the Settle-Carlisle Railway
- Gypsum Production in the Kirkby Thore Area
- Long Meg Mine, Little Salkeld
- Gypsum Production in the Cotehill Area
11th July, 2020
Between 1919 and circa 1935, the railway facilities at Long Preston played a key role in the construction of Stocks Reservoir. For a brief overview, see the introduction to the Fylde Water Board Yard at Long Preston.
4th July, 2020
David Tyson recalls his memories of childhood visits to Helwith Bridge Signal Box in the late 1950s.
26th February 2020
Three plans from the Roy F. Burrows Midland Collection (held at the Midland Railway Study Centre) have been reviewed and uploaded to the SCRCA web-portal. These are:
- A scale drawing of a 40ft Span MR Standard Footbridge.
- A station plan entitled "Midland Railway Hawes Junction".
- A contract plan entitled "M.R. Settle to Carlisle: Contract 4 Armathwaite Station Ground".
20th February, 2020
Five previously unpublished plans from the National Archives collection have been digitised, reviewed and uploaded to the SCRCA web-portal as part of a long-term project to catalogue, summarise and / or digitise primary source material held in key public repositories. The reviews and plans can be accessed via the following links:
- Review of primary source: drawing-sac-mr-generic-waiting-room-v01-na-rail-491-629-2
- Review of primary source: drawing-sac-mr-generic-station-building-no-1-large-na-rail-491-629-3
- Review of primary source: drawing-sac-mr-generic-station-building-no-2-medium-na-rail-491-629-4
- Review of primary source: drawing-sac-mr-generic-station-building-no-2-medium-na-rail-491-629-5
- Review of drawing-sac-mr-bridge-66-na-rail-491-1158-66-no6
23rd November 2019
There are several discrepancies between Blea Moor Tunnel as we see it today and the information provided in some of the primary and secondary sources contemporary with the tunnel's construction. The most intriguing of these relate to the number of access shafts (five vs. seven), the location of the south portal and the method of construction used for the southern end of the tunnel (traditional tunnelling vs. cut-and-cover). The evidence to date is reviewed in detail in the snippet entitled "SCRCA Note: A change of plan for the south end of Blea Moor Tunnel".