Settle & Carlisle—Part 1.

One of the Most Visually Stunning Railways

Britain’s famed Settle & Carlisle is among the great railway lines. Its superb engineering and stunning natural settings, combined with a history of dramatic lighting effects as a result of the surrounding topography have long made this a popular setting for railway photographers.

Many years ago I rode over the line on a trip from Haworth to Arnside via Carlisle, but until a couple of weeks ago, I’d never properly photographed the railway.

My old buddy and fellow railroad photographer, TSH and I used a hired car to explore this fascinating section of railway line. We started near Garsdale and worked our way back toward Settle.

A Leeds-bound class 158 DMU hums along the Settle & Carlisle towards Garsdale in August 2014. Canon EOS 7D photo.
A Leeds-bound class 158 DMU hums along the Settle & Carlisle towards Garsdale in August 2014. Canon EOS 7D photo, August 2014.
Old station buildings at Dent on the Settle & Carlisle in August 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
Old station buildings at Dent on the Settle & Carlisle in August 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
As predicted, an EWS coal train led by a General Motors-built Class 66 diesel near Dent. Dappled sun illuminates the valley beyond. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
As predicted, an EWS coal train led by a General Motors-built Class 66 diesel near Dent. Dappled sun illuminates the valley beyond. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens, August 2014.

I’ve often heard that this line carried a bit of freight, and my investigations prior to arriving there indicated we should have seen about 6-7 freights during the course of the day. We saw one EWS coal train. That was all. Thankfully, the regular passenger service operated about every two hours, so at least there was some movement over the line. Bad luck, as they say.

The scenery and engineering was sufficiently impressive to compensate for the comparative dearth of traffic and I made dozens of photographs using film and digital photography.

A northward railcar works toward Dent. Canon EOS 7D.
A northward railcar works toward Dent. Canon EOS 7D.
In the evening, a class 158 emu approaches its station stop at Ribblesdale. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
In the evening, a class 158 emu approaches its station stop at Ribblesdale. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

Stay tuned for more S&C views tomorrow!

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