A Passion for Steam on The Settle & Carlisle Line
11 August 1968 was a significant day in the lives of railway enthusiasts and indeed railway workers. This was the day that was to see the end of standard-gauge steam on the British Rail network. The famous '15 Guinea Special', organised by BR, was certainly intended to be the last steam-hauled passenger train on the national network.
Maurice Burns, who first reached the Settle & Carlisle line by cycling 100 miles when just 14 years old, recalls his many adventures in capturing the final days of BR steam. This included the '15 Guinea Special' on 11 August 1968. A mechanical engineer by profession, he became the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group, helping to restore LNER 'K1' No 2005 and 'A2' 'Pacific' No 60532 Blue Peter for operation over the line. The book concludes with a review of the past 40 years of the preservation era with some of the finest photography on the S&C line.
The Settle & Carlisle railway over the roof of England is without doubt one of the most spectacular in the country. The author first found the line by cycling a 100-mile round trip from home. This and many more cycling adventures, including a day in Ais Gill signal box, a night at Garsdale troughs and exploring for the first time the line from Garsdale to Keighley are all featured, as are trips to Alston, Kirkby Stephen East and Leeds.
The weather always plays a part in any visit to the Settle & Carlisle and this book has it all! From warm sunny days to a cutting icy wind and snow, all were braved to record the final days of BR steam operation.
On 11 August 1968, when the final BR steam train ran, all enthusiasts thought that was the end of main-line steam. However, preserved steam had already ventured over the Settle & Carlisle in 1967, a fascinating period in history, now forgotten, where immaculate preserved locos worked alongside work-stained engines operated by British Railways. However, a BR steam ban brought this to an end.
It is truly remarkable that the Settle & Carlisle line survived closure and, following the lifting of the steam ban, preserved steam engines have now battled to Ais Gill summit for the last 40 years.
The author, like many other people, joined the steam preservation movement and this book includes his involvement with the overhaul and running of Blue Peter and high-speed runs to Ais Gill summit. A Passion for Steam on the Settle & Carlisle Line is therefore an incredible journey through time showing how steam operation on the route has changed, and written by someone who know the line so well.
Softback, 128 pages, well illustrated
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Updated: 1 January 2021