Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
A ride on a miniature steam railway through the Lake District
(Photos/words © urban75, 1st Sept, 2008)
Running for seven miles (11.3km) from the coastal village of Ravenglass to the terminus at Dalegarth deep in the Lake District, a round trip on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway is a great way to send a few hours.
Running on a 3 foot gauge, the railway opened on May 24th 1875, and was tasked with transporting ferry iron ore from Boot to the coast at Ravenglass, with passenger traffic starting the following year.
Financial troubles promptly followed, with the railway being declared bankrupt in 1877 and closing in 1913.
Two years later, the miniature railway engineer WJ Bassett-Lowke and his pal R Proctor-Mitchell bought up the disused line for testing their model locomotives, rebuilding the track to a smaller 15"/381mm gauge.
By 1916 passengers were being carried again (and continued to do so apart from the war years), with the later addition of freight traffic carrying granite blocks from near Beckfoot to Murthwaite.
By 1946, the line was in the hands of the Keswick Granite Company, who ceased quarrying operations in 1953 and offered the entire operation for sale at the end of the fifies.
The line was sold to the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Preservation Society at auction in 1960 with Colin Gilbert and Sir Wavell Wakefield chipping in to cover the full costs.
Since then the railway has continued to serve tourists and visitors to the area with a new station and visitor centre at Dalegarth being opened in 2007.
We caught the train up from Grange Over Sands with the journey offering some attractive coastal views.
Parts of the line were still using old semaphore mechanical signalling - a technology which dates back to Victorian times - and I grabbed this photo of the curving line ahead from my seat.
The main line signalbox at Ravenglass.
Ravenglass station, which has three platforms.
The rather cute looking diesel loco, Cyril at Ravenglass station.
Leaving the station. You could either sit in open trucks or in carriages - if you're visiting, take the trucks as they're far more fun.
A fine mohican.
The train journey goes through some lovely countryside.
The River Mite loco (2-8-2), built by Clarkson's of York in 1966.
Irton Road station.
The tiny station at Fisherground.
View from the train.
Pulling in to the line's terminus at Dalegarth.
End of the line.
A crowd watching the locomotive being turned on the turntable.
Watching the train.
Watching the train leave.
Ravenglass main line station.
Looking along the tracks.
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