Steam Excursions

The Tornado steam train travelling over the Ribblehead Viaduct. Image courtesy of Stuart Petch.

We know you’ll agree- a steam train crossing one of the Settle-Carlisle railway’s many viaducts makes for a classic image! You can often see the hillsides around Ribblehead viaduct, Mallerstang and other vantage points in the Eden Valley dotted by train enthusiasts and keen photographers, just waiting to catch that magic moment.

Whether it’s a special ‘guest’ appearance from the iconic Flying Scotsmen or one of the many steam-hauled excursions travelling the line through out the Summer months; it seems that everybody loves a steam train – whatever their age.

There is not, however, a regular steam-hauled service along the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle or Leeds-Bentham-Lancaster/Morecambe rail lines. 

About The Daily Diesel service…

A daily diesel sprinter service runs along the line and is operated by Northern Trains.

Unlike many think, the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle and Leeds-Bentham-Lancaster/Morecambe routes are not exclusively heritage railways. Both rail lines are part of the main UK rail network with train services running in each direction, several times a day. With many connecting services from both routes (by rail, bus and air), the rail line plays an integral part in transporting residents and visitors to and from the Yorkshire Dales, Lancashire, Cumbria and beyond.

Learn more about traveling the line and view the latest timetables for these services here.

Timetables are issued by the train operating company, Northern Trains. For the latest and most accurate travel times, click here to visit the National Rail Enquiries website.

Purchasing Tickets for Regular Services…

Whilst some may miss the roar of a steam engine, we can assure you the views from the rail line are just as magical. With tickets for regular services at a fraction of the price, it’s a journey not to be missed! Tickets can be purchased online ahead of travel here or, help to support your local by buying at stations along the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle route.

Leeds, Skipton, Settle, Appleby and Carlisle are all staffed stations, giving the best advice, fares and personal service. Ticket vending machines are also available at these stations for passengers wishing to purchase or collect tickets outside of ticket office opening hours. You can also purchase tickets using the free mobile app from Northern Trains. Click here for more details.

The daily service has plenty to offer; click here to learn about your journey, our award-winning refreshment service, the lines heritage and more.

Let our Group Travel and Sales team help with your booking- find out how here. 

About Steam Excursions…

Steam excursions do feature on the line, especially during the summer months. They are run by various specialist operators and originate in other parts of the country.

Unfortunately, these excursions do not pick up passengers at the stations on the Settle-Carlisle section of the line. From time to time, steam excursions may be seen to ‘stop’ at stations- this is often due to a planned break whist the steam train is refuelled with water and not for ‘new’ passengers to board the train.

For an overall picture of steam locomotive excursions throughout the UK, take a look at, where you will find a mine of detailed information. By searching the site for a specific word, say Settle or Carlisle, you can quickly highlight whatever you’re interested in. There are links to the tour operators’ own websites where you can see more information or even book tickets. It’s also a really useful resource if you want train times, so you can be sure to be in the right place at the right time to snap that classic photograph!

If you are visiting the area to watch a steam train, please remember not to trespass on the railway line or other restricted areas. Please stay safe and watch the excursion loco from either an open station along the line, or a safe viewing area away from the track.

Booking A Steam Excursion…

If you wish to book a steam excursion, you need to contact the operator direct.

We, The Settle-Carlisle Railway Development Company, do not organise regular steam excursions on the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle rail line. On occasion, we do provide special excursion events- both steam and diesel hauled. Previous excursions include; ‘The Christmas Comet’ which travelled from Carlisle, via Appleby & Settle, to York (Dec 2017) and the ’30th Anniversary Express’  which ran from Carlisle, via Appleby & Settle, to Chester (July 2019). Any future excursions will be advertised on our website and social media pages.

Contact details for Steam Train Operators & Excursions:

Stateman Rail

Telephone: 0345 310 2458

West Coast Railways

Telephone: 0844 850 4685

Saphos Trains

Telephone: 0800 038 5320