The top 10 ‘must see’ events of 2017

With several keynote events already planned and others still in the melting pot, Robin Jones and Brian Sharpe look at the big happenings awaiting us in 2017.

LMS Princess Coronation Pacific No. 46233 Duchess of Sutherland tops Ais Gill summit with the Railway Touring Company’s ‘Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express’ on January 31, 2015. BRIAN SHARPE

1 The reopening of the Settle and Carlisle line

The Settle & Carlisle line, arguably the most scenic inland railway route in England, was closed north of Appleby in February 2016 after a 500,000 tonne landslip at Eden Brows, north of Armathwaite, which caused the ground to slip 5ft beneath its normal level in the weeks that followed.

Train services were subsequently extended to Armathwaite with bus connections on to Carlisle, but the line remains closed as a through route with the familiar intensive programme of steam railtours being unable
to operate.

As part of a £23 million engineering solution, engineers have been building an enormous concrete and steel, tunnel-like structure that will sit beneath the railway, 240ft above the River Eden, to provide a stable base across the damaged and unstable ground.

Two rows of high-strength piles – steel tubes filled with concrete – have been driven into the sloping bedrock of the Eden gorge, north of Armathwaite.

The hundreds of piles will form a corridor, set into the hillside, on which a 5ft-thick,
110-yard concrete slab will then be placed. This slab will form a solid base for the tracks.

The completed structure will stabilise a section of gorge bank above the River Eden that gave way in February, causing the ground below the railway to slip 1.5m below its
normal level

Read more in Issue 223 of Heritage Railway

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