Settle & Carlisle Route, The  Railway World Special 1984    48 pages

Settle & Carlisle Route, The Railway World Special 1984 48 pages

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Settle & Carlisle Route, The Railway World Special 1984 48 pages
The Settle & Carlisle Route Railway World Special 1984    48 pages
ITS ADMIRERS are legion these days, but it is a fact that the Settle & Carlisle line was far from widely appreciated until the 1950s. Two photographers did much to evoke interest in the combination of wild, often gaunt scenery, noble civil engineering works and hard-worked steam locomotives. Those men were the late W. Hubert Foster (co-author of a memorable book on the line in the late 1940s) and the late Eric Treacy. In particular, Eric Treacy's work revealed the quintessential Settle & Carlisle steam railway scene, while The Story of the Settle & Carlisle Line, by Frederick W. Houghton & W. Hubert Foster, first published in 1948, recounted much of the lore of the line. Until the era of long-distance motorway journeys by car, and of course faster train journeys, the Settle & Carlisle was not largely appreciated at first hand.
Only by walking the grand country is it possible to gauge the scale of the railway and concur with the view that the Settle & Carlisle is a great engineering achievement, not least because the style of the way and works is consistent, and the architectural and engineering work harmonious with the surrounding fells. Would that one could say the same of the M6 as it blunders through the Westmorland moorland and the Lune Gorge! The attraction also was that it was built as a main line for express trains, and made few concessions, as did early lines, for motive power of the pioneering days. But there were two other aspects, less appreciated. After World War 1, the passenger train service was always sparse, by the 1950s no more than three daytime and two night express trains each way. And in any case most of the services using it were through workings. Less obvious to the armchair reader was the fact that it was a ferociously hard section of line to work - in all seasons. Not for nothing was the Settle & Carlisle used for controlled road tests of locomotives, but the battle undertaken by men and machines against the capricious weather of the high fells was - and remains today - a contest with the elements.
This book is a celebration, not a requiem for the Settle & Carlisle and draws on material, mainly articles published in Railway World over the last 20 years, illustrated by courtesy of some noted photographers. Their content encompasses the construction of the line; the heyday of express services at the turn of the century; a unique account of the terrible winter of 1947; enginemanship in the latter days of the steam age; and concludes with an insight into the main line steam excursions of the late 1970s and early 1980s, featuring the career of George Gordon, a locomotive inspector at Carlisle, now retired.

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