The Saving of the Settle-Carlisle Railway

A quarter of a century ago, Michael Portillo, then Minister for Transport, became the darling of railway enthusiasts when he announced that he would not allow British Rail to close the magnificent Settle-Carlisle Railway.

This special commemorative programme talks exclusively with Michael Portillo about that decision, and how he feels the line has developed since. We travel on The Fellsman steam excursion and on a Northern Rail service to see the beauty of the line, and hear from those who work hard to make it a success.

We join a party having a day out on the railway, discovering the engineering marvels built with picks and shovels by Victorian navvies, and hear from the tour guide who knows the line inside out.

There are contributions from Dr John Whitelegg, now a respected international transport advisor, who was chairman of the Joint Action Committee which fought closure; from Professor Colin Divall of the National Railway Museum; and from Richard Morris, chairman of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line.

We visit Britain's highest mainline station at Dent to see how the old station building has been given a new lease of life as a tourist destination, and meet the enthusiast volunteer gardener who devotes so much of his time to keep Settle Station looking its best.

And there's a never-before-told story from Michael Portillo about his secret journey along the Settle-Carlisle which turned out to be no secret at all, and influenced his decision to keep the line open.

But the biggest star is the railway itself. Our international award-winning team has captured its rugged beauty, set amongst some of the most spectacular scenery in England, to create the ultimate tribute to the railway and those who care about it.

The Saving of The Settle-Carlisle Railway celebrates the defeat of British Rail, who plotted for years to close it. But much more than that, it's a testament to those who've fought hard to make it the success it's become, so we can continue to travel on it and marvel at what those navvies achieved.

The Saving of The Settle-Carlisle Railway is available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Special Offer

Take advantage of our website-only special offer. Buy The Saving of The Settle-Carlisle Railway on DVD or Blu-Ray and save £5 on the companion cab ride, A Journey on The Settle-Carlisle Railway..