Want to try a new way to explore England? New dedicated tourist trains are set to run on the famous scenic railway line from Settle to Carlisle this summer, and they will provide an opportunity to cyclists and walkers to explore the English countryside. The service will see three 112-mile round trips per day between Skipton and Settle in North Yorkshire non-stop to Appleby in Cumbria.

Settle Station 2.jpg
The service runs from Settle Station © Stuart Petch

An on-board guide will provide a commentary as the train passes historic points of interest such as Ribblehead viaduct, Ais Gill summit, which is nearly 1000 feet above sea level, and Dent - the highest mainline station in England. The trains will run from Monday to Saturday between July 20 and September 12, and first-class day return fares are £29 (€31.75) per person or £99 (€108.35) for a family of four.

Female cyclist riding in the Yorkshire Dales National Park on the descent from Malham Moor towards Settle
The train service will appeal to cyclists keen to explore the area © Steve Fleming/Getty Images

The train trips are aimed at providing days out for families after months of COVID-19 lockdown, and tickets will initially be sold in pairs to people from the same household or social bubble. There is a capacity of 128 seats per train, and room for 12 pre-booked bicycles. The trips will take place in dedicated two-meter-compliant ‘socially distanced’ trains made up of first-class carriages. The seats in individual bays will be divided by perspex screens, and a one-way boarding and alighting system will be in place.

Appleby Station in Cumbria
The service runs to and from Appleby station © Stuart Petch

Travelers will have spacious well-padded reclining seats around a private table, with large windows through which they can view the stunning Yorkshire Dales and upper Eden Valley in Cumbria. The three destinations, Appleby, Settle, and Skipton, are lovely, historic small towns in their own right, and Skipton is also the hub for the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway. From Appleby, there will be opportunities for onward travel by special coaches to the Lake District and England’s highest market town at Alston, as well as the narrow gauge South Tynedale steam railway.

“This is the first time that a dedicated timetabled tourist train has operated in England and has the potential to be a game-changer in other popular areas of high seasonal demand," says Adrian Quine, director of new company Rail Charter Services. He developed the concept and the trains used are owned by Jeremy Hosking and operated by his company, Locomotive Services (TOC) Ltd. Tickets can be booked through Rail Charter Services' website here.

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