More about the English Lakes
Steam Railway Attractions in the English Lakes
ONE of the finest family days out in the Lakes is provided by the Ravenglass
and Eskdale miniature railway that runs down Eskdale to the sea at
Ravenglass. Nicknamed Laal Ratty the steam locomotives are kept in tip
top condition by both volunteers and staff of the railway that runs over
the old Victorian route of a railway that originally took iron ore to
the coast. The return journey from either end can take several hours,
especially if you include exploring one of the Lake District's best kept
secrets...the Eskdale valley. The only disadvantage of the railway as
a family day out is that access by road either involves the demanding
hairpin bends of the steep Hardknott and Wrynose passes from Little Langdale
or else a lengthy drive via Whitehaven
or Millom. If the Hardknott pass is used remember to walk up to
one of the most dramatic Roman forts in England at Hardknott fort.
In winter the railway runs a skeleton service using diesel locomotives.
Further south and closer to Windermere is the Lakeside and Haverthwaite
Railway Newby Bridge. This standard guage steam hauled railway takes tourists
from the Victorian Lakeside station on the shores of Windermere to its
terminus at Haverthwaite where the preserved steam engines and carriages
are on display.
In the far East of Cumbria there is also the South Tynedale Railway Alston
Redundant railways across Cumbria are now used as footpaths/cyclepaths
: One of the most impressive for cycles and hikers is the Keswick Railway
Footpath from Keswick to Threlkeld.
Railway Association The Eden Valley Railway Society was formed in 1995
with the aim of reopening the Appleby to Warcop section of the Eden Valley
line, and then reconstructing the railway along the old route to Stainmore
Summitt. This will involve rebuilding several bridges and viaducts, the
biggest being the Belah viaduct at 1040 feet long. A steam railway will
be operated as it was in its heyday, with authentic North East Railway
features reinstated, as a tourist attraction and also serving an educational
role. See www.evr.org.uk/ for more information.