This is a special winter trip by train over two of England’s most scenic railway routes, the main line via Shap summit and the Settle and Carlisle Railway.
The train will be hauled by either steam locomotive no. 45699 Galatea or 45690 Leander, for a journey over the spectacular route through the Cumbrian Fells. The destination is Carlisle with time to explore the Border City.
Our special train will depart from Manchester Victoria at about 07:00 stopping to collect passengers at Bolton and Preston. We enjoy a fast run along the West Coast Main Line (WCML) to Carnforth where we stop for our locomotive to take on water. We climb the first severe gradient up to Grayrigg and then travel through the beautiful Lune Gorge, gaining speed for the ascent to Shap. This well-known section of the WCML has a gradient of 1 in 75 and, in the former days of steam locomotives, banking engines from Tebay were used to assist trains. After crossing the Cumbrian Fells we descend to Penrith, and then head for Carlisle. We stay in the Border City for over two hours, providing ample time to visit the castle, cathedral, museum and shops, or just to relax in one of the many fine coffee shops, restaurants or bars.
We leave Carlisle and begin to climb as soon as we join the Settle & Carlisle Line, one of the best known and best loved stretches of railway line in Britain. We stop at Appleby, for our steam locomotive to take on water. The route then climbs through Kirkby Stephen towards the highest railway summit in England at Ais Gill, 1,169 feet above sea level. We pass over tall viaducts, including the famous one at Ribblehead, and through tunnels. There are magnificent views across the Fells and to the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.
We should have a fast run out of the hills through to Settle before we stop for our steam locomotive to take on water. We continue through Hellifield and Clitheroe to Blackburn, where we stop to set down passengers. We then take the direct line to Manchester, climbing up the steep gradient to Sough Tunnel and then descending to Bolton, where we stop to set down passengers. Shortly after 19:00, we arrive at our final destination of Manchester Victoria, and the end of a truly marvellous day.
*Passengers for Preston travel by service train from Blackburn on the return journey.
Premier Dining includes a full English breakfast and a four course dinner silver served at your seat.
First Class includes morning coffee with a variety of tulip muffins and afternoon tea with a savoury of the day followed by a selection of cakes and fancies.
Standard Class includes a reserved seat usually at a table for four.
Tables for two can be guaranteed in Premier Dining and First Class for a supplement of £25 per person (subject to availability).
A buffet car is available and serves tea, coffee, snacks and light refreshments.
Approximate timings shown