The once doomed Settle-Carlisle Line came to the rescue last week when flash flooding brought about the closure of rail routes between England and Scotland. The West Coast Main Line was blocked by a landslip near Oxenholme, while the East Coast Main Line was similarly closed north of Newcastle. Virgin Trains, whose drivers are familiar with the Settle-Carlisle line for use during planned diversions ran a limited service across the roof of England route, once threatened with closure until reprieved by then Transport Minister Michael Portillo in 1989.
Richard Morris, chairman of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line, said “It is rare for both East and West Coast Main Lines to be blocked simultaneously.  The Settle-Carlisle Line is remarkably robust and we are delighted that on this occasion it can resume the purpose for which it was built – as the third route between England and Scotland.”
In this month’s Dalesman – now on sale – we highlight the need to create a passenger timetable for an underused stretch of railway between Clitheroe and Hellifield to join up with the Settle-Carlisle line. This would open up a direct link between Manchester and the Dales which can only be good for the region.

Photo shows the Victorian structure of Hellifield Station ready for more traffic

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