Excursion Details

Settle & Carlisle Golden Express I


Image courtesy of Ian McDonald.

Saturday 11th August, 2018




It was fifty years ago - to the very day - that a glorious chapter of Britain's history ended with the (in)famous 'Fifteen Guinea Special', bringing down the curtain on steam on the main line network. From then on soulless diesels and electrics would rule the rails, with the living, breathing giants confined to short and low speed preserved lines.


Fortunately there were those who had other ideas, and steam returned to the main line in 1971, since which time there have been few corners of this 'sceptred isle' that have not witnessed the majesty of steam.


A feature of that fateful day half a century ago was a run over the Settle & Carlisle line, a route whose popularity continues to grow year on year, and no wonder, for anyone who joins this excursion will sit back and wonder at the magnificent vistas that open up at every turn. And yes, you will be steam hauled as well, as we have arranged for the use of no. 60163 ‘Tornado’, a locomotive that was completed four decades after the rest of the class were reduced to scrap.


Our day begins with a diesel hauling the train from Bristol to Preston, where 'Tornado' will take command, northwards to Lancaster, past Morecambe Bay and climbing through Oxenholme to Grayrigg Summit. An easing through the Lune Gorge is followed by an assault on the famed climb to Shap, then descent through Penrith to Carlisle, where we avoid the station and make for the Settle & Carlisle line, following the verdant Eden Valley to market town Appleby for a two hour or so break. A complimentary bus shuttle will link the station with the town.


On the restart our magnificent locomotive will hasten into speed for the climb ahead, through Kirkby Stephen and into the mountains that close in as the line runs on the flanks of Wild Boar Fell, with Mallerstang Common towering across the infant River Eden. A final fling sees our loco breast the summit at lonely Ais Gill to run then across the 'roof of England', high above Dentdale to Blea Moor Tunnel and to the magnificent Ribblehead Viaduct, looked down on by the Three Peaks of Whernside, Ingleborough and Penyghent. Down Ribblesdale we race to Settle then Hellifield, where we take the cross country line to Clitheroe and the hardest climb of the day, to Wilpshire Tunnel.


Down then to Blackburn and soon to the West Coast Main Line for what will hopefully be a fast romp through Lancashire to a crossing of the River Mersey and to the end of our steam journey today at Crewe, followed by the diesel hauled run back to Bristol to conclude our historic day.



Estimated Timings    
Joining Stations



Bristol Temple Meads 0530 2320
Bristol Parkway 0545 2305
Cam & Dursley 0610 2240
Cheltenham Spa 0635 2215
0710 2140
Birmingham New St. 0740 2105
0830 2015
Crewe 0900 1915



Adult Junior Party of 4
Standard Class £125.00 £65.00

First Class

£180.00 £140.00 £700.00
First Class Plus £199.00 £159.00 £776.00
Premier Dining £289.00 £249.00 £1136.00


Private 'Table for Two' seats are available at a supplement of £30 per person in First Class, First Class Plus and Premier Dining.




Updated 19/02/18


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