And this weekend a steam locomotive crossed the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct once again after a tough years in which the much-loved machines have been left largely idle due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Saturday, the British India Line locomotive crossed the Ribblehead Viaduct, in North Yorkshire, marking another step in our return to normality. The Cumbrian Mountain Express became the first steam train to run on the Settle to Carlisle line following the easing of coronavirus restrictions last week.
Kelly Osborne, managing director of The Railway Touring Company which runs the trips, said: “These magnificent steam locomotives need to be seen in action to be fully appreciated.
“Let’s hope there will be plenty of opportunities in 2021 and for many more years to come to climb on board, hear their distinctive sounds, catch a whiff of coal smoke and see heads turn and faces light up as these fine feats of British engineering build up steam in our stations and take to our railways once more.
“Already a number of our steam excursions for this summer are full. After a very tough 15 months for the heritage rail industry, it’s tremendous to see such enthusiasm and support from people.”
Historic steam locomotives lined up to haul ‘The Waverley’ this year include not only Flying Scotsman, but also 1936-built 45690 Leander and 46115 Scots Guardsman built in 1927.
The Settle to Carlisle route includes one of the most arduous climbs on Britain’s railway network – a total of 15 miles mainly at a gradient of 1 in 100.
It involves many tunnels, including the Blea Moor Tunnel, numerous viaducts crossing valley floors and an arduous climb to Ais Gill Summit at 1169 feet. Passengers on board ‘The Waverley’ can choose to visit the historic market town of Appleby set on a loop in the picturesque river Eden or border city of Carlisle, with its castle, cathedral and Tullie House Museum.