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Friday 10th May 2019

©  Peter Lindop

By way of an add on to the AGM at Haworth on Saturday 11th May 2019, a visit to the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway was organised for the day before.

Some started the day on the 08.30 Euston-Glasgow Central Virgin Trains service. A change was made at Lancaster, where more members were waiting. The Northern Rail service from Preston was taken to Barrow in Furness. Here we had to change platforms to board the 12.06 Carlisle, another Northern Rail Class 156 service. While some came down from London, others had stayed at Blackpool, Leeds or Carlisle the previous night.

Another member then joined us at Ravenglass, to make our visiting party 13. We went to the main desk, where our guide was waiting for us. He first took us to the main workshop, the original Furness Railway goods shed, which has been rebuilt following a disastrous fire in March 2013. Diesel locomotive “Shelagh of Eskdale” was stripped down having an overhaul. The boiler from 1912 built steam loco “Synolda” was here, with the partly stripped main engine seen in the museum. Next we went round the adjacent Museum, with various items pointed out and described by our guide. The original railway opened in 1875 as a 3ft gauge line, transporting iron ore. Converted to 15 inch gauge in 1915, the line has survived highs and lows over the years.

We then went across to the station, past the signal box, and along to the engine shed, just as “River Mite” was leaving for the station. Here were “River Irt” and “River Esk”, ready for service. Both these locos were having overhauls when the 2012 workshop fire struck, which obviously caused extra work in the rebuilds. The visit paused as we watched an arriving train, hauled by “Northern Rock”.

Returning to the station, we were allowed to fit the L&CI headboard onto “River Mite”, at the head of the 13.50 departure.

We then joined the train, most choosing the open coach at the rear of the train! On a lovely sunny afternoon we enjoyed the scenic ride up Eskdale. At Irton Road we crossed the downhill service, hauled by the powerful diesel loco “Douglas Ferreira”. After 7 miles and a 40 minute journey we arrived at Dalegarth for Boot Station. Here River Mite was turned, watered and oiled ready for the return. We left on time at 14.50, this time our party was spread out along the train. With some cloud about, some opted for covered coaches, while others stayed in the open top coaches, enjoying the views although cooling off slightly!

Once back at Ravenglass, most headed for the Turntable Café, for a cuppa and something to eat! Thanks to all we met from the R&ER, for any enjoyable visit.

We all joined up again on the main line platform, and got the 16.24 to Carlisle, with wonderful views of the Lake District hills along the Cumbrian coast line. At Carlisle most booked in at the Hallmark Hotel, just outside the station, before all joining at a nearby large Chinese restaurant for drinks and an excellent “eat what you want” buffet!

On Saturday morning, breakfast was obtained from various places before we all joined the 07.49 to Leeds, formed of a Class 153/158 combination. An on time journey saw us have a wonderful trip along the scenic Settle line, arriving at Keighley at 10.09, for the days AGM and line visit  

The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway

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Ravenglass Pictorial

An pictorial record of the visit to the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway by Tom Chaffin