Reference sources - 1: Building the line

Online resources

  • The Ingleborough Archaeology Group (IAG) - Ribblehead, 2007: Over the course of one week at the end of May 2007, the IAG undertook a 'mitigation excavation' of a "stone spread" and "possible building" located within the designated Scheduled Monument area at Ribblehead. The objective of this excavation was to "identify if it was a building, and to try and interpret its external and internal form" as there was evidence that the area had been or was being illegally disturbed. Based on their findings, the IAG interpreted the structure as "an office at the mortared end and a storeroom in the greater part" associated with the construction of the Settle-Carlisle Railway. For a summary of this excavation (with accompanying photographs), see SCRCA Primary Reference: Review of IAG Excavation Report for Ribblehead Construction Camp Building n6.
  • Books that are out of copyright: Digitised versions of the following copyright-expired publications are available for download in various formats including pdf and Kindle. (Note: The download options are located in the box entitled "View the book", which is located in the left-hand column of the webpage.)
    • Williams, Frederick Smeeton
      "The Midland railway: its rise and progress. A narrative of modern enterprise"
      Published by Strahan & Co London in 1876
      726 pages (including covers)
      The pdf version is 42Mb, so the download may take a while, even if using a fast broadband connection.
    • Williams, Frederick Smeeton
      "Our Iron Roads: Their History, Construction, and Administration" (second edition, revised)
      Published by Bemrose & Sons, London in 1883
      544 pages (including covers)
      The pdf version is 33.82Mb, so the download may take a while, even if using a fast broadband connection.
    • Thomson, J. Radford
      "Guide to the district of Craven and the Settle and Carlisle Railway, with illustrations"
      Published in London by Simpkin, Marshall, & Co.; and F. Warne & Co.;
      and in Settle by H. Gore (1879)
      The chapter on the Settle-Carlisle line is Ch 10 which starts on page 79.

Printed publications

Hundreds of books and articles about the Settle-Carlisle Railway have been published over the decades. The following have been identified as being particularly useful as they contain significant quantities of original, well-researched material (i.e. text, plans, historic photographs, etc). Many of the books listed below are out of print, although they do occassionally appear on the second-hand market. Some of those that are still in print may be available from FoSCL's online shop: for a list of the titles currently in stock, see:


  • Mitchell, W.R: “How they built the Settle-Carlisle railway”, Castleberg (1989). Note: Extracts from this book (reproduced with the kind permission of Dr Mitchell) are available on the following page: Contemporary accounts relating to the construction of the Settle-Carlisle Railway.
  • Mitchell, W.R: “Shanty Life on the Settle-Carlisle Railway”, Castleberg (1988)
  • Mitchell, W.R. & Mussett, N.J.: "Seven Years Hard: Building the Settle - Carlisle Railway", Dalesman Books (1976).
  • Sullivan, Dick: "Navvyman", Coracle Books (1983) [Note: This book covers all aspects of the life & work of the 'navvy'. Chapter 13 'The Long Drag' covers the construction of the Settle-Carlisle Railway].

Journal / magazine articles, unpublished reports, etc

  • Cardwell, P., Ronan, D. and Simpson, R.: "An Archaeological Survey of the Ribblehead Navvy Settlements" (2004) - appears in R. F. White and P. R. Wilson (eds.): "Archaeology and Historic Landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales", Yorkshire Archaeological. Society Occassional Paper 2, pp195-202.

  • Ed Dennison Archaeological Services: "Earthwork Survey: Risehill Tunnel Spoil Heap (No 1 Shaft), Cowgill Wood, North Yorkshire", unpublished report produced for Scottish Woodlands Ltd (1998).

Series Links

The list of potentially useful / interesting reference sources is now far too long for a single page, so it has been split into five separate pages - one for each of the following sections:

  1. Building the line
  2. Operating the line
  3. Historic Structures
  4. Conservation & Archaeology
  5. General Reference

 The links above will enable you to jump directly to the relevant section.


This list of reference sources was compiled by Mark R. Harvey. (© Mark R. Harvey, all rights reserved.)