England

Flying Scotsman marks Carlisle-to-Settle line reopening

Flying Scotsman crosses Ribblehead viaduct Image copyright Graham Eva
Image caption Flying Scotsman's journey through North Yorkshire to Carlisle, crossing the Ribblehead viaduct, marks the Settle-Carlisle railway line reopening after floods

Flying Scotsman has marked the reopening of the landslip-hit Settle-to-Carlisle rail line.

The stretch at Eden Brows, between Carlisle and Armathwaite, had to be shut in February last year after 500,000 tonnes of earth moved.

Network Rail underpinned the line by driving hundreds of concrete-filled steel piles into the bedrock.

Paul Barnfield, regional director for train operator Northern, said the £23m project had been a "mammoth task".

Latest updates as passengers welcome Flying Scotsman

Image copyright PA/Danny Lawson
Image caption Flying Scotsman passed Ribblehead train station in the Yorkshire Dales National Park on its way to Carlisle, Cumbria
Image caption Families and train enthusiasts waited for Flying Scotsman's arrival at stations along the route between North Yorkshire and Cumbria

Crowds came to stations along the line to see the world famous locomotive travel from Keighley to Carlisle.

Some reminisced about "childhood memories: the smoke, the dirt, the grime, the coal dust".

Chairman of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line, Douglas Hodgins, said it was "great to be back in business".

"We shall be working tirelessly with the railway industry to ensure the line regains its role as a through route to Carlisle and Scotland as quickly as possible - and to seeing the splendours of the Eden Gorge from the trains again," he said.

Image copyright Graham Eva
Image caption The train was hired for the day by the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway
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Media captionPulling out of Appleby station for the first time this year

The route provides a lifeline to thousands of small businesses and is also a magnet for rail enthusiasts.

Network Rail said the repair project had been the most challenging it had undertaken in its 15-year history.

Route managing director Martin Frobisher said: "I am beyond thrilled that customers and goods are moving again on this vital economic artery through Britain's most beautiful landscape.

Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption Heavy rain caused significant problems on parts of the line at Eden Brows

"Our orange army has ensured that even if the ground gives way again in future, the railway will not," he said.

The first Northern train service left Carlisle at 05:50 BST.

The locomotive, which was hired for the day by the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, made a one-off chartered trip from Keighley.

It passed through Settle, Appleby and Armathwaite before arriving in Carlisle.

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Media captionFlying Scotsman at Oxenhope

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