New rail route introduced for people who are keen to explore the Yorkshire Dales over the summer

Rail passengers in the North West who are keen to explore the Yorkshire Dales National Park more widely this summer will be able to travel there on a new Northern service.

The Yorkshire Dales Explorer service will run from Rochdale to Ribblehead twice a day on Saturdays. The first departed on June 8, 2024.

It will stop at stations including Manchester Victoria, Salford Crescent, Bolton, Blackburn, Clitheroe, Hellifield and Settle.

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Northern is offering adult return tickets from Manchester Victoria to Ribblehead for £25, so countryside wanderers and nature lovers can enjoy an affordable day out in the Dales.

Yorkshire Dales rail route. (Pic credit: Northern Rail)Yorkshire Dales rail route. (Pic credit: Northern Rail)
Yorkshire Dales rail route. (Pic credit: Northern Rail)

They will be able to embark on the journey between those two stations in around two hours, travelling along a route which includes beautiful scenery.

Regional director for Northern, Craig Harrop, said: “We’re excited to introduce this brand-new service that will allow customers to travel into the heart of the Dales at a reasonable price this summer.

“They can get off the train at Hellifield, Settle, Horton-in-Ribblesdale or Ribblehead if they want to get out and explore the spectacular national park.”

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Trains will set off from Rochdale at 7.52am and 2.52pm on Saturdays, calling at 18 stops before they get to Ribblehead. The return trains will leave from Ribblehead at 11.08am and 6.05pm.

Customers who wish to get off at Ribblehead can take a short stroll to see the famous Ribblehead Viaduct or catch another train to continue north on the Settle-Carlisle line and visit other destinations in the Yorkshire Dales, such as Garsdale and Dent.

Member champion for recreation management at the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Lizzie Bushby, said: “We’re really pleased that Northern is running this service. It will provide opportunities for visitors from the North West to visit the National Park this summer.

“The journey itself will be a great experience with amazing views of the National Park, and there will be lots to do when people arrive.”

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Chair of Community Rail Lancashire, Richard Watts, said: “This is an exciting development which Community Rail Lancashire will enthusiastically support.

“We are developing, with our partners the Lancashire Rail Ramblers and the Friends of the Settle Carlisle, a comprehensive guided walk programme helping people to enjoy the lovely Dales countryside with an experienced leader.

“The walks will also include history trails highlighting the fascinating stories in the communities along the line.”

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