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A train ride from Leeds to Carlisle via Shipley Keighley Skipton Settle Ribblehead and Appleby

A train ride from Leeds to Carlisle.

This has to be one of the best if not the best train ride in Britain it uses the spectacular Settle to Carlisle railway and is steeped in history.
For the full length of it's journey it follows the former Midland Mainline built by the Midland railway company to connect their London terminus St Pancras with Scotland and Ireland. I do tell a bit of a lie the first very short section out of Leeds city station was not Midland rails but if this short section lasts more than a Minute I would be supprised.
To see a bit more about the Midland Mainline further south see my Train ride from Sheffield to Leeds

The trains are operated by Northern Rail and the journey time is Approximately 2 hours 45 mins.
Timetable download pdf format

Download the Northern Rail Carlisle Armathwaite Lazonby & Kirkoswald Langwathby Appleby Kirkby Stephen Garsdale Dent Ribblehead Horton-in-Ribblesdale Giggleswick Settle Long Preston Hellifield  Gargrave Bingley Skipton Keighley  Shipley Clapham Bentham Wennington Carnforth Lancaster Bare Lane Morecambe Heysham Port Leeds  timetabletrain  times

Click here to download the current Northern Rail Leeds Shipley Keighley Skipton Hellifield Settle Ribblehead Dent Garsdale Kirkby Stephen Appleby Carlise and Clapham Carnforth Lancaster Morecambe Heysham train timetable in pdf format

Download the West Yorkshire Metro Airedale Skipton Cononley Steeton & Silsden Keighley (Change for KWVR) Cross?atts Bingley Saltaire (World Heritage Site) Shipley Frizinghall Bradford Leeds Oxenhope Haworth Oakworth  timetable train times

Click here to download the current West Yorkshire Metro Airedale Leeds Bradford to Shipley Bingley Keighley Skipton timetable in pdf format. This timetable includes trains from Leeds to Carlisle and Morecambe and also the Keighley and Worth Valley timetable

Please note download was correct on the date shown on timetable if in doubt visit
An explanation of pdf files
Planning on using buses and boats in Cumbria download the pdf version of the Go Cumbria bus timetable guide showing times of many bus services in Cumbria and all ferry services on Lake Windermere, Coniston, Ullswater and Derwent Water, along with prices of various day tickets and loads of other useful information

Go, Cumbria, bus, ferry, guide, times, timetable, travel.

Click here to go to the download page

Also see my
bus ride from Leeds to Skipton via Otley and Ilkley Service X84
to see a bus alternative as far as Skipton

 A Northern Rail train awaiting departure for Carlisle at Leeds City Station

A Northern Rail train awaiting departure for Carlisle at Leeds City Station

The view as we leave Leeds city station.

The view as we leave Leeds City station at this point this train feels like any other you could easily be on a Sheffield or Nottingham express but this will quickly change.

Heading North out of Leeds towards Shipley

Heading away from Leeds this line was obviously once something much bigger. It has to be said though the line as far as Skipton is now electrified and has new trains running on it and Skipton boasts one through train a day to London albeit Kings Cross not St Pancras.

The Back of Kirkstall Abbey.

Passing the back of Kirkstall Abbey.

An old bridge.

There is lots of evidence this line was once much bigger there are lots of disputed bridges like this one as slot of this section of line was Once 4 tracks.

Shipley Tunnel.

In this shot the entrance to the dissused bore of Shipley tunnel can be just made out. There was once two tunnels running Parallel to accommodate the 4 tracks only the one we are about to go through is used today tunnels of this nature are a common feature of the Midland mainline between Bedford and St Pancras.

Leeds Liverpool canal.

Running alongside the Leeds Liverpool canal. You will keep catching glimpses of this as far as Bank Newton locks just after Gargrave.

To see a bit more of the Leeds Liverpool canal see my
Bus ride from Manchester to Burnley
and my
Bus ride from Bolton to Preston


First stop Shipley. Shipley is the Junction where the line to Bradford Foster Square leaves the main line.

Salts mill at Saltaire

Passing Salts Mill at Saltaire.

Bingley Station


Bingley three rise locks.

The three rise locks on the Leeds Liverpool canal can be seen in this shot. The famous Bingley five rise locks can be found a short distance along the canal from here

Another view of Bingley three rise locks.

Another view of Bingley three rise locks.

Heading up Airedale between Bingley and Keighley

Heading up the Airedale between Bingley and Keighley


Keighley. In this shot the part of Keighley station used by the preserved Keighley and Worth Valley railway can be seen. To find out more about this railway visit the Keighley and Worth Valley website

Also see my
Walk from Keighley to Ilkley over Ilkley Moor

Racing up Airedale towards Skipton.

Racing up Airedale towards Skipton. The landscape starts to change and the Yorkshire Dales start to appear.
As you can see from the snow and lack of snow in different pictures I made this journey more than once to get these pictures it fortunately allowed me to capture some of the lines different moods.


Skipton the end of the line for the electric trains but not for us. Note the typical Midland style platform canopies.

Skipton and London St Pancras get a mention on my
The journey back from Lands End to Abbeydale Rd via Penzance, St Ives, Camborne, Penzance, London, Sheffield, Leeds, Skipton, Preston, Burnley, Halifax, Huddersfield

Electric facilities Skipton

Stabling facilities for the electric trains at Skipton. Our train and the railway itself from here on in now starts to take on a very different feeling.



Bank Newton Locks Leeds Liverpool Canal.

Our last sight of the Leeds Liverpool canal at Bank Newton Locks the canal now heads off towards Burnley.

Start of the dales

The landscape is becoming more upland.

Approaching Hellifield

Approaching Hellifield note the signal box and semaphore signals in this area they are still manned and and been used today. At least here a real person is controlling your train not a computer is that good or bad?

Hellifield station

Hellifield station. In times gone by Hellifield was a major junction amd this explains why the station is so large.

Ribble Valley

After passing through Long Preston the Ribble Valley opens up.

Signal box at Settle Junction

We then reach Settle Junction where the line splits the line to Morecambe and Heysham seaport that was the Midlands route to Ireland bears to the left.
To see a little bit more about this see my
train journey from Lancaster to Carlisle via Barrow in Furness and the Cumbrian.Coast.

The route to Scotland via the Settle and Carlisle which we are taking to the right.

The Morecambe line Heading off towards Giggleswick. In days gone by the boat trains would have been seen using that line.

Settle Station.

Shortly after the Junction we arrive at Settle. This shot shows the unique signage for the distances to Carlisle and London

Station building at Settle.

The Station building at Settle. To see A train ride from Long Preston to Settle through Settle junction on a snowy day
click here

Until 1989 the next section of line faced the threat off closure slot off people worked very hard to keep the line open and fortunately the government of the day decided they were right. The group is known as the Friends of the Settle Carlisle and they still work today promoting the line providing refreshments and guides on some of the trains using the line and they play a huge part in the upkeep of the stations along the route amongst other things. I know of no other railway in Britain where this is done. It is obviously done with the full backing of Northern Rai and Network Rail. This has got to keep any potential renewed threat of closure much further away.
For more info visit Friends of the Settle Carlisle

To get an idea of what this line may have looked like today if the decision in 1989 had gone the other way see my Walk from Miller's Dale to Bakewell along the Monsal trail. This is the walk uses the tracked of the Midlands route from London St Pancras to Manchester and runs through the Derbyshire Peak district. Some of the structures and works along the walk bear a striking resemblence to those found on the Settle to Carlisle line. Interestingly the Manchester line leaves the mainline to Scotland at Ambergate Junction in Derbyshire between Derby and Chesterfield it is now just a branch line to Matlock but Peak rail have extended it to Rowsley as a preseved line.

It has to be remembered that the Settle Carlisle line opened in 1876 is built to mainline specifications and runs through some of the wildest terrain in the Uk which makes it an incredible feat of engineering.

This is where the atmosphere on board really changes. It really does take on a feeling of something speacial. It has all the feel of a preserved line although the train is also thankfuly been used by people just wanting to get from A to B.

A map of the Settle Carlisle railway.

A map of the route ahead.

Settle Church.

Passing Settle Church a lot of navies who died during construction of the line are buried in the church yard.

River Ribble Ribblesdale.

Climbing up Ribblesdale alongside the river Ribble. We are now climbing up towards Ribblehead. This climb is known as the Long Drag.


A view of Penyghent this is one of the 3 peaks on the three peaks walk.

Horton in Ribblesdale.

Horton in Ribblesdale. At this point the scenery becomes breathtaking.

Ingleborough mountain.

A view of Ingleborough mountain. Another of the Peaks on the Three peaks walk.

The long drag nearing Ribblehead.

Climbing the Long Drag nearing Ribblehead.

Ribblehead Station. We are now about to cross the Ribblehead viaduct which is the highlight of this journey. Barely a Head does not turn on the train as we cross the viaduct. I wonder if it was like this 
in the lines heyday when the Thames Clyde express crossed the viaduct.

Ribblehead Station. We are now about to cross the Ribblehead viaduct which is the highlight of this journey. Barely a Head does not turn on the train as we cross the viaduct. I wonder if it was like this in the lines heyday when the Thames Clyde express crossed the viaduct.

Station inn Ribblehead

Crossing the Ingleton to Hawes road just before we go onto the viaduct. The Station Inn is a great place to have a drink if you alight from the train here it has superb views of the Ribblehead viaduct.
The River Ribble also starts here to see a picture of the Ribble near its estuary near Preston see my
Bus ride from Bolton to Preston
and my
bus ride from Preston to Burnley

Crossing the Ribblehead Viaduct.

Crossing the Ribblehead viaduct.

Blea Moor signal box.

Shortly after crossing the Viaduct we Pass Blea Moor signal box this must be one of the most isolated signal boxes in Britain.

Got a business along any route of want a mention and a link click here for more info

Approaching Dent. Running alongside Dentdale.

After Blea Moor signal box we Pass through Blea Moor tunnel and when we emerge the beautiful valley of Dentdale appears on the left hand side of the train. Looking down the valley towards Dent as we approach Dent Station.

Dent Station.

Dent station this is the highest mainline station in Britain at 1150 feet above sea level.

To see a video of a train ride from Ribblehead to Dent click here

Between Dent and Garsdale.

Between Dent and Garsdale.

Approaching Garsdale.

Approaching Garsdale.

Garsdale Station formerly called Hawes Junction

Garsdale this station was originally called Hawes Junction. This is where the line down Wensleydale left and ran Through Hawes and Leyburn and eventually joined the East Coast main line at Nortallerton the line was closed in 1959 but part of it has been reopened between Lemming bar and Redmire as a preserved railway and is now the Wensleydale Railway.

Ruswarp the border colie at Garsdale.

On the southbound platform at Garsdale there is a statue of a dog. The Friends of the Settle to Carlisle Line have created a tribute to border collie Ruswarp, who guarded his owners body Graham Nuttall for 11 weeks when he died Mountain walking in Wales in 1990. Mr Nuttall of Burnley played a major part in saving the railway line just before he died. There were tens of thousands of people and one dog who objected to the proposed line closure between Settle and Carlisle by signing a petition. The one dog that protested was Ruswarp who marked the petition with his paw print and as a result of this petition the line stayed open.

The dissused railway to Hawes.

The tracked of the dissused railway to Hawes and Northallerton

Looking towards the Moorcock Inn.

Looking towards the Moorcock in just after Garsdale station

climbing towards Ais Gill summit.

After passing through the Moorcock tunnel we start the final climb to Ais Gill summit.

Wild Scenery

Getting close to the summit

Moorland off a train

The same view a day earlier without the snow.

Snow to the top off the track.

On the snowy day the snow was almost at the top of the tracks as we approached the Summit.

Ais Gill summit.

Passing Ais Gill Summit at 1168 ft above sea level the highest bit of Mainline railway in England.

To see A train ride across Ais Gill Summit
Click here

Mallerstang valley

Dropping down from Ais Gill towards Kirby Stephen down the Mallerstang Valley. The beautiful Mallerstang edge can be seen on the other side of the Valley.

Kirby Stephen

Kirby Stephen


In this shot just North of Kirby Stephen a milepost can be seen with 267 on it this signifies the distance from the Midlands London terminus at St Pancras. These mileposts can still be seen on most of the entire route of the Midland Mainline.

Between Kirby Stephen and Appleby the North Pennines can be seen in the distance.

Between Kirby Stephen and Appleby the North Pennines can be seen in the distance. We are now in the Eden valley and the scenery becomes gentler.

Appleby station.

Appleby Station, this is the next larger place we come to since leaving Settle.

Crossing the A66 Appleby by Pass.

Crossing the A66 Appleby by Pass this road was used in my A journey from Sheffield to Sheffield via the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District day 2 Tan Hill to Buttermere.

Travel pass UK.Travel pass everywhere in Great Britain
             North. of Appleby

North of Appleby the North Pennines can be seen Cross Fell is in this Area which is the highest point of the Pennine chain.


Langwathby station.

River Eden

About to cross the River Eden North of Langwathby.


Approaching Lazonby.

Lazonby and kirkoswold

Lazonby and Kirkiswold station

Between Lazonby and Armathwaite

Between Lazonby and Armathwaite.

Armathwaite Cumbria

Armathwaite station.

Armathwaite signal box.

Armathwaite signal box.

Between Armathwaite and Carlisle

The final leg Between Armathwaite and Carlisle

Telegraph pole.

One notable feature along this stretch of line is the dissused telegraph poles all that is missing is the wires they were Once so important as a means of communication. They did have one advantage over mobile phones no worries about lack of signal.

Pettril bridge Junction.

Pettril bridge Junction where the line from Newcastle joins the Settle to Carlisle line on the outskirts of Carlisle.

The platform at Carlisle

Our arrival platform at Carlisle note the pictures on the wall.

Arrived at Carlisle

Arrived at Carlisle.

Steam engine at Carlisle.

If you make this journey there is a chance you will see a steam engine particularly on a Saturday as many steam speacials use the Settle to Carlisle line. To see what engines are used in conjunction with the steam engines see my train ride from Carlisle to Preston page
also see my
bus ride from Carlisle to Newcastle
also my
train ride from Lancaster to Carlisle via the Cumbrian coast

Carlisle station

Carlisle station front.

Carlisle courts.

Carlisle courts.

One of the main shopping streets Carlisle

One of the main shopping streets in Carlisle. The city is a great place to spend some time.

Carlisle Cathederal

Carlisle Cathederal

Carlisle Castle.

Carlisle Castle

Click here to see the friends of the Settle to Carlisle railway



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