At the heart of the Settle-Carlisle line – one of the world’s most beautiful railway routes – lies an incredible feat of Victorian infrastructure.
The Settle Carlisle Railway Development Company, which promotes this scenic part of the railway, says the viaduct and the nearby railway station “probably represent the very heart of the Settle-Carlisle line”.
Watch this film for stunning shots of one of our best-loved rail bridges, also known as Batty Moss Viaduct:
Looking after Ribblehead Viaduct
At 400m long, Ribblehead Viaduct’s 24 arches sweep through the Three Peaks region of Yorkshire Dales National Park.
We’re proud to look after such a historic piece of Britain’s railway. Ensuring our Victorian structures remain in safe working order and last for generations to come is a great responsibility.
To do this, we undertake visual exams of the viaduct annually and detailed inspections every six years. We also typically carry out a major renewal every 10 years and any minor works as an when necessary.
Severe weather is one of the challenges we face as custodian of Ribblehead Viaduct, which crosses open land in an exposed position.
Our routine maintenance has included:
– the replacement of damaged or missing timber wing fences on the approaches to the bridge
– the replacement of individual missing bricks to the undersides of the arches
– repairs to and pointing of open cracks
– repairs to damage to down pipes
A striking symbol
On its website, the Settle Carlisle Railway Development Company recounts an argument – decades ago – by British Rail, which formerly operated the country’s railway, that the line should close due to the huge cost of its repairs. However, the bridge “became the symbol of the campaign to save the line,” according to the development company.
It said: “The viaduct then became the symbol of the campaign to save the line. Support for the highly scenic and historical S&C flooded in from all quarters. The line and the viaduct were both saved in 1989.”
Today, passengers on the Settle–Carlisle line can take in the viaduct along with remote stations and other Victorian architecture.
In 2013, Network Rail – through the Railway Heritage Trust – part-funded the restoration of the former station master’s house at Ribblehead.
The Settle and Carlisle Railway Trust invested about £300,000, with a further substantial financial contribution towards the work came from the Railway Heritage Trust.