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Ais Gill to Appleby
Ais Gill » Birkett Tunnel » Kirkby Stephen » Smardale » Crosby Garrett » Griseburn » Appleby
Traveller's tale . . .
From Ais Gill we cross Ais Gill Viaduct and experience the delightful views along Mallerstang Common and the young river Eden begins its winding journey to the Solway Firth. Here the line clings to the side of Wild Boar Fell with the road and river below - what a delightful railway journey!
142085 at Ais Gill 66024 at Ais Gill
Traveller's tale . . .
After crossing Mallerstang Common we are now just two miles away from Kirkby Stephen as we plunge into the short 424 yard long Birkett Tunnel which had to be driven through the Pennine fault.
60023 at Birkett Tunnel south 60035+60039 at Birkett Tunnel south 43104 at Birkett Tunnel south
Local tittle-tattle ...
Nearby are the remains of the 12th century Pendragon Castle, legend has it that it is here where Uther Pendragon, the father of King Arthur, died. It was abandoned after a raiding Scottish army set fire to it in 1341, but was rebuilt in 1360. It was left in ruins by another fire in 1541 but was restored in the mid 17th century by Lady Anne Clifford but the castle gradually fell back into ruin after her death.
47757 at Birkett Tunnel south The Scribe at Birkett Tunnel
Traveller's tale . . .
On the opposite side of the tunnel...
60034 at Birkett Tunnel north 60090 [Quinag] at Birkett Tunnel north 37411 at Birkett Tunnel north
Traveller's tale . . .
We reach Kirkby Stephen station. It is located approximately two miles to the west of the town due to the line having to maintain a respectable height for the climb to Ais Gill. The NER also had a station here which closed in 1962 and is now a small preserved railway site known as the Stainmore Railway Company. Nature was a little kinder and they were able to build theirs a little closer to the town.
66160 south of Kirkby Stephen 153317 + 158906 south of Kirkby Stephen 47456 at Kirkby Stephen
Mouthwatering trivia. . .
In 1900 Kirkby Stephen was renamed "Kirkby Stephen and Ravenstonedale" but reverted back to "Kirkby Stephen" in 1935. In 1953 it became "Kirkby Stephen West" to differentiate it from the former NER station at "Kirkby Stephen East", this latter station closed in 1962 and from 1968 the suffix "West" was discontinued and for the third time the ex MR station became just "Kirkby Stephen".
43121 at Kirkby Stephen 60066 at Kirkby Stephen 66510 at Kirkby Stephen
Not many people know that:
you're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off! Kirkby Stephen was the only station on the line to have a 1st class waiting room!
Local tittle-tattle ...
Kirkby Stephen Kirkby Stephen is a market town and at 600 feet is the highest town on the banks of the River Eden.
It is the half way point of Wainwright's Coast to Coast long distance walk and the Pennine Way passes nearby.
The town dates back to the time of the Danes in 850AD and was granted a market charter by King Edward III in 1361
Traveller's tale . . .
To the north of Kirkby Stephen is Smardale Viaduct, a most impressive structure situated between the undulating Smardale and Crosby Garrett fells. Here the North Eastern Railway's Tebay to Kirkby Stephen East and Barnard Castle line crossed under the Settle & Carlisle.
156480 at Waitby 47441 at Smardale VIDEO ...
We've added a nice little video. It depicts EWS 66102 on northbound MGR empties.
Mouthwatering trivia . . .
The Midland Railway never built a station at Smardale, the only station for the village was on the former NER line called Smardale Halt situated near Smardale Hall.
47782 on Smardale Viaduct 47828 [Severn Valley Railway] on Smardale Viaduct Not many people know that:
Zulus! Farsands of 'em, don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes! Smardale Viaduct was built entirely of grey limestone and is the tallest viaduct on the line at 130 feet above Scandal Beck.
Traveller's tale . . .
From Smardale Viaduct the line runs through Crosby Garrett Tunnel, a mere 181 yards in length and then crosses Crosby Garrett viaduct sitting high above the delightful village and then passes the site of the former station which closed in 1956. Nothing now remains of the station platforms.
60035+60039 on Crosby Garrett Viaduct 47798 [Prince William] at Crosby Garrett
Mouthwatering trivia . . .
The viaduct is 110 yards long but only 55 feet high, quite small by S & C standards. The former station master's house still exists and is privately owned, it can be discerned behind a clump of encroached vegetation.
Local tittle-tattle ...
The parish of Crosby Garrett dates back to the 13th century and was formerly called Crosby Garret with just one "t" - and before that Crosby Gerard. In 1995 the parish had a population of 113 with 58 dwellings plus one caravan! Some of the older houses date back to the 17th century though alarmingly it does not have a pub!
Traveller's tale . . .
At Griseburn viaduct we cross Helm Beck and then pass Griseburn ballast sidings where nearby quarrying took place on behalf of the Midland Railway. The sidings closed in 1970.
47447 at Griseburn 47570 at Griseburn oi - don't do that! Not many people know that:
Griseburn is the half way point on the line between Settle and Carlisle - it is located 36 miles from each.
Traveller's tale . . .
Onwards and northwards we head towards the 571 yard Helm Tunnel through Heights Hill, completed in 1873 it took three years to build. Then past the former Ormside station closed in 1952 overlooked by both Little Ormside and Great Ormside on its eastern side. Across the River Eden for the first time on Ormside Viaduct we now approach the market town of Appleby and leave the limestone country behind. Time for a visit to the "Friends of the Settle and Carlisle Line" shop on the station and a pint and a sandwich in the adjacent Midland Hotel.
47782 at Appleby 66114 at Appleby
what's that supposed to mean? Not many people know that:
Appleby was the only station on the line to have a footbridge. Appleby also has the longest platforms on the line!
The lovely Anne Robinson
A lot of people do know that: Appleby was the former county town of Westmorland.
47848 [Newton Abbot Festival of Transport] at Appleby 156438 at Appleby
Mouthwatering trivia . . .
Appleby changed its name to Appleby West in 1952 to avoid confusion with the former NER station which became Appleby East. Appleby East closed in 1962 and from 1968 Appleby West reverted back to plain Appleby.
The original signal box at Appleby was situated on the down (northbound) side of the line at the end of the platform and was named Appleby North but was destroyed by fire in 1951 (a kind of hot box!) The extant 'box was built on the opposite side of the line from the original and was to an LMS design, it was regularly switched out during the 80's and early 90's.
Local tittle-tattle ...
Appleby Appleby lies in the heart of the Eden Valley in a loop in the river. It is sheltered on the east by the Pennines and from the west by the Lakeland Fells. It has a well preserved Norman castle and an impressive mediaeval church. It's market dates from 1174 and Appleby has been a centre for trade and administration for the surrounding area since Roman times.
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