Opinion Former Article

Steam services celebrate rail reopening

Rail passengers in North West England boarded the first scheduled service to be pulled by a steam locomotive in nearly half a century on Tuesday.

The A1 Pacific Tornado is travelling between Appleby and Skipton on the Settle to Carlisle line and will do until Thursday, in advance of the reopening of the full route next month following a landslip near Armathwaite last year.

Use of the locomotive was arranged as part of celebrations to mark the line's forthcoming reopening.

Rebuilding of the railway at the Eden Gorge near Armathwaite followed a landslip last February where 500,000t of earth gave way, which led the line to slip by 2.5m below its normal level.

Engineers from Network Rail drove two rows of foundation piles into the sloping bedrock and is to install 3000t of concrete as part of the £23M restoration.

Project manager Phil Middleton says: “This latest phase of the work means that we are getting closer to completion and we are confident that we will reopen the line on 31 March.”

Rail operator Northern’s regional director Paul Barnfield added: “It has been a long and difficult 12 months for those who use the Settle to Carlisle railway, but we cannot overstate the size of the task that Network Rail had to face.”


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