Until now, passengers on the historic Settle & Carlisle Line from north of Ribblehead could not arrive in Leeds before 1130 – no good for commuting or for a day trip to London.
Equally, anyone from south of Kirkby Stephen could not arrive in Carlisle before 1130, making a day out in Glasgow or Edinburgh an impossibility.
From last Friday, thanks to Northern Rail, there are new weekday trains that open up a wide range of travel opportunities for work or leisure.
The new southbound service leaves Carlisle at 0558, then calls at Armathwaite, Langwathby, Appleby (0638) and Kirkby Stephen (0651).
It then picks up the path of former 0716 Ribblehead to Leeds, arriving in Leeds at 0837. The next London Kings Cross train leaves at 0845, giving an arrival in the Capital at 1100 – no less than three hours earlier than was possible previously.
Just as handy for workers in Carlisle or for long distance travellers to Scotland is the new northbound service. This leaves Leeds at 0555, calls at the main Aire Valley stations to Settle, then goes non-stop to Kirkby Stephen (0743) and Appleby (0809). It then calls all stations in the Eden Valley to arrive at Carlisle at 0841.
Richard Morris, Chairman of the Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line, welcomed these developments:
“Hats off to Northern for providing these much-needed extra early-bird services. The Settle – Carlisle line is always in the limelight these days, and whilst the train times are fine for tourists wanting a day out to see the spectacular scenery, the lack of decent early arrival times in Leeds or Carlisle has always been a significant drawback for anyone needing to travel long distances.
“Now this is possible, and although we hope that the missing station calls can be added in future, these new services will be a huge boon to many people.”
Details of times and fares can be obtained from National Rail Enquiries on 0845 48 49 50 or on the website.