Last updated: Tues 4th August 2020.

This Summer, Rail Charter Services brings the Staycation Express, an exclusive tourist-centred Charter Train service operating daily between Skipton, Settle & Appleby, to the iconic rail line. 

Following weeks of restrictions on leisure travel, the aptly named ‘Staycation Express’ offers you and your loved ones the opportunity to experience one of the UK’s most historic and scenic rail journeys aboard a socially distanced, first-class charter train service.

The new charter train service provides a bespoke timetabled tourist service to passengers wishing to explore Settle-Carlisle country, whether visiting the area or local to the region.  The new timetabled service will run three times per day between Skipton, Settle, and non-stop to Appleby.  With reclining seats at a private table and large windows for viewing the counties dramatic scenery, guests will travel in style and comfort on this socially distanced excursion.  An on-board guide will also be available to provide a limited commentary as the train passes the many points of interest that punctuate the rail line.

This new provision will run alongside the railways daily diesel service, operated by Northern Trains, to provide additional capacity to the iconic route through the peak post-lockdown period.

John Thomas, director of policy at the Rail Delivery Group, commented on the planned excursions by saying:

“As an industry we positively welcome innovative ideas that will help to boost capacity, once travelling by public transport for leisure is no longer being discouraged by government. As restrictions are eased, these extra services will help to support people to travel more safely and boost the local tourist industry by enabling people to enjoy a beautiful part of the country.”

Join us in celebrating the reopening of the world-famous rail line on this unique charter train excursion.  With views of the diverse Yorkshire Dales’ scenery, breath taking heights from the top of the Ribblehead Viaduct, and the awe-inspiring remote fells of Westmorland; make new memories this summer on this unforgettable charter train excursion.  With car parking available at and near to Skipton, Settle and Appleby railway stations- leave the car behind, sit back and let us do the driving!

Following customer feedback and easing of government regulations, fares now start from just £17.50 (single ticket price based on two people booking from the same social bubble sharing two seats in a bay). Passengers can now take advantage of building their own day itinerary with either a one-way or day return fare option.

To purchase tickets visit the Rail Charter Services website here.

Experience Settle-Carlisle Country…

The new timetabled charter train by Rail Charter Services, tempts passengers with a choice from three return journey options, running between Skipton and Settle in the Yorkshire Dales and Appleby-in-Westmorland in Cumbria.  The charter service will run three services per day, Monday to Saturday. Tickets are sold as a Day Return, offering passengers a fixed ticket option providing either a short or long day out.

Passengers can choose from the following return journeys:

  Destination  Journey 1  Journey 2  Destination  Journey 3 
Depart  Skipton / Settle  08:35 / 09:03  12:18 / 12:44  Appleby  10:35 
Arrive  Appleby  10:03  13:35  Settle / Skipton  11:29 / 12:03 
Depart  Appleby  17:58  14:38  Skipton / Settle  16:12 / 16:31 
Arrive  Settle / Skipton  18:48 / 19:11  15:28 / 15:49  Appleby  17:32 

Journey 1: Skipton – Settle – Appleby
Day return excursion

Board at Skipton or Settle in the Yorkshire Dales and travel north of the border to Appleby-in-Westmorland.  With lots to see and do, you and yours will have ample time to learn about the county’s rich heritage, browse the many independent shops and eateries, or explore the fells and valleys of Cumbria by foot.

Journey 2: Skipton – Settle – Appleby
Afternoon return excursion

Relax, unwind and experience one of the world’s greatest railway journeys on this special afternoon excursion.  Sit back with some delicious local produce, from the Development Company’s award-winning catering service, and travel back in time to a bygone era laden with Victorian viaducts and impressive Midland Railway architecture.  A perfect trip along the railway, come rain or shine!

Journey 3: Appleby – Settle – Skipton
Day return excursion

Board at Appleby or Settle and travel south to Skipton, the idyllic market town and gateway to the Yorkshire Dales.  With a 900-year-old castle, romantic ruined priory, the Leeds-Liverpool canal, and a historic cobbled high-street featuring a weekly outdoor market (running three days a week), Skipton offers plenty to new and recurring visitors.  If walking’s more your thing, the outstanding natural beauty of God’s Own Country is just around the corner.

To purchase tickets visit the Rail Charter Services website here.

blankThere are further plans to offer onward tour options.  From Appleby, onward travel by specialist coaches will be made available to take passengers on to the Lakes District and England’s highest market town, Alston, and the South Tynedale Steam Railway.

These journey add-on’s will be announced soon.

For inspiration on things to do and places to visit in the region, plan your day out using the website links below:

Welcome to Yorkshire; Skipton –

Visit Settle –

Visit Appleby –

For free, downloadable walks in Settle-Carlisle country click here.

Click the links below to download a FREE Settle-Carlisle Railway Grand Days Out guide.  These free guides provide a pre-planned itinerary for an amazing day out on the rail line.

Settle – Grand Days Out guide

Appleby – Grand Days Out guide

How to Purchase Tickets…

Due to social distancing measures, tickets will initially be sold in pairs to people from the same household or social bubble.  To meet government advice and maintain the minimum advised distance between passenger groups, window seats are only available for sale at this time.

To ensure safety is maintained throughout the excursion, passengers will be boarded by coach and seat number and are asked to adhere to the current guidelines on travel for public transport.  Find the latest advice from Public Health England here.

From August 3rd, single fare tickets can now be purchased. Fares start from just £17.50 per person (single one-way ticket) based on two people sharing. Special family group fares for four people, including at least one child (under the age of 16), start from £49 (single one-way tickets). Children under 6 travel free but are not guaranteed a seat. Passengers can now take advantage of building their own day itinerary with either a one-way or day return fare option.

Ticket price includes reserved table in exclusive bays in traditional comfortable air-conditioned first-class coaches with power points.

To purchase tickets visit the Rail Charter Services website here.

Refreshments for Your Journey…

The Settle-Carlisle Railways Development Company’s award-winning catering service will provide a mixture of on train and on station refreshments for passengers.  Naturally, strict social distancing measures will be followed.

A Socially Distanced Charter Service…

The train is made up of First-Class carriages offering spacious, well-padded seats and large windows from which passengers can view the stunning scenery.

blankThe charter train service consists of four Mark 3 First-Class coaches (FOs) and one Mark 2 compartment brake vehicle (BFK), the latter not open for public use.  The train will be hauled by two class 47 locomotives, one at either end.  The train will be operated by Locomotive Services Ltd (TOC) and promoted through Rail Charter Services Ltd and The Settle Carlisle Railway Development Company Ltd.

All services will have stringent social distancing measures in place to ensure the best safety for both customers and staff on board.  With online pre-booking, individual seating areas divided by Perspex screens, and a socially divided one-way boarding and alighting system- passengers will be made to feel at ease from the beginning of their journey.  Prior to boarding, passengers will receive all the necessary guidance for their trip via email.  A specialist first-class compartment in a separate carriage will be available should a passenger become unwell during the journey and need to self-isolate.

To ensure maximum safety for all, passengers are encouraged to be familiar with the current social distancing measures surrounding travel on public transport.  Click to read the latest advice here.