Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway

Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway

River Mite at Fisherground Halt

River Mite at Fisherground Halt

Picture: © Copyright eandersen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway is a 15 inch gauge miniature Steam Railway running for 7 miles through the heart of Cumbria.

The Route

The route runs for 7 miles from Ravenglass to Dalegarth in the Eskdale Valley at the foot of Scafell.

Ravenglass

This is the Railways headquarters. Located here is a gift shop, museum, Cafe and Children’s play area.  For the adults there is the railways own Pub, the Ratty Arms.

Also found here are the Railways Engine Sheds & Workshops. There are 3 platforms from which trains arrive and depart, one having an overall roof. Trains are turned at each end to face the direction of Travel.

Muncaster Mill

The first Intermediate station is Muncaster Mill. This single line/Platform station was built to serve Muncaster Mill, an ancient working Water Mill. Until 2003 it was open to the Public, but has now become a Private residence!

Miteside

Keep a look out for Red Squirrels between Muncaster and Miteside. Miteside is a small halt, located a short distance from a passing loop. An interesting feature is the Shelter which is an old Rowing boat turned onto its stern.

Murthwaite

Once a hive of Industrial activity. South from the line, you can spot the old Granite Crushing plant.

Irton Road

The Halfway point on the line. There is an Island Platform here and Passing Loop. It serves the Western end of Eskdale Green Village.

The station building built in 1875 when the railway was originally built!

The Green

Eskdale Green or the Green station serves the East end of Eskdale Green Village. This station tends to be unmanned excluding the high season.

Eskdale Green itself is a quaint little Village and well worth alighting to have a look around.

Fisherground Halt

A special Halt built to Serve the Campsite next to the line.

Beckfoot

This was the starting point for one of Alfred Wainwright’s legendary Fell walks. It’s a great place to alight and walk it for yourself.

Dalegarth

This is the Railways Eastern Terminus. It stands at the foot of one of Cumbria’s largest mountain ranges and largest Mountain, Scafell Pike.

Upon entering the station the train passes through a loop and over a bridge spanning the River Esk. There is a cafe, function room and shop here.

History

The line now laid to the Gauge of 15 inches, this was not always so. The line was originally 3 foot gauge and was built to ferry Iron Ore from workings near Boot to the Coast at Ravenglass.

It opened on May 24th 1875 and carried it’s first passengers on November 20th the next year.

Problems with the Iron Ore were found and the line was declared Bankrupt as early as 1877, but did not close until 1913.

Two years later in 1915 Miniature Railway Engineer WJ Bassett-Lowke and his friend R Proctor-Mitchell purchased the line for testing their little locomotives under pretty harsh conditions!

By 1916 the line had been Re-gauged to 15″ as far as Irton Road. The following year trains would run the full length of the line.

In 1958 and 59 the line was put up for sale again, to be sold by auction, there was not real interest, and the 1960 season was thought to be the “Rattys” last!

The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway Preservation society was quickly formed by a group of Enthusiasts, but hopes were not high.

Fortunately two parties stepped in to save the day, and the railway is still running and more popular than ever before!

A more detailed history of the line can be found in the Museum at Ravenglass.

Website: http://www.ravenglass-railway.co.uk/index.html

Operating dates: See Website

Line Length: 7 miles

Operational Locomotives:

  • (1894 Heywood) rebuilt 1927 0-8-2 No.3 River Irt
  • 1923 Greenly/Paxman  2-8-2 No.7 River Esk
  • 1966 R&ER/Clarkson’s 2-8-2 No.9 River Mite
  • 1976 R&ER 2-6-2 No.10 Northern Rock
  • 1912 Bassett-Lowke 4-4-2 Synolda (Usually to be found in Museum)
  • 1969 Severn-Lamb 4-6-4DM Shelagh of Eskdale
  • 1980 R&ER Bo-BoDM Lady Wakefield
  • 2005 TMA Bo-BoDH Douglas Ferreria

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