Ribblehead station and the Viaduct that spans Batty Moss just to the north of the station, probably represent the very heart of the Settle-Carlisle line. The huge cost of repairing the Viaduct was very much a part of the argument put forward by BR in the 1980’s as a reason to close the line. That viaduct then became the symbol of the campaign to save the line and support for the highly scenic and historical S&C flooded in from all quarters. The line and the viaduct were both saved in 1989.
Despite the reprieve of the line the station at Ribblehead lay derelict for many years until the Settle & Carlisle Railway Trust finally managed to secure a 125 year lease on the building from Railtrack (now Network Rail) in 1999. Funds for a complete refurbishment of the building plus a caretaker’s flat, visitor centre and shop were put into action and the station and visitor centre formally opened in pristine condition in June 2000.
The S&C Trust runs a visitor centre in the station building and has refurbished the stationmaster’s house to a high standard. The house is available for holiday bookings. For more information on that project visit the Trust’s website.
During 2017, a new way of seeing the Settle Carlisle line was launched atthe refurbished Ribblehead Visitor Centre. Using a touch screen you can now view the line between Settle and Blea Moor tunnel using aerial photography and 3D models. By clicking on the main features of the line (Ribblehead, Horton and Settle stations, Blea Moor and Settle signal boxes, Helwith Bridge quarry etc) you can explore further. Each feature has a gallery of images and stories including personal reminisences. You can find more information at signal boxes, Helwith Bridge quarry etc) you can explore further. Each feature has a gallery of images and stories including personal reminisences. For more information.
Ribblehead also boasts a weather station: www.mylocalweather.org.uk/ribblehead/.
Ribblehead is surrounded by the vastness of the Dales landscape. The peaks of Ingleborough and Whernside dominate the local scenery and westerly winds howl up the valley much of the year. Conditions in winter (and summer in some cases) can be very challenging. Into this setting during the 1870’s came the tough ‘navvies’ who set up encampments to live whilst the building of the line was undertaken.
The ghosts of the navvy bases remain and the area now has a stillness and remoteness, which is only broken by the rumble of a passenger or freight train over the Viaduct. This acts as a reminder that the S&C not only offers a wonderful trip for people but is a vital connection for communities, trade and industry.
Find the station and explore the local area on Google Maps.