LEEDS to CARLISLE - The line from Leeds to Carlisle furnished the Midland Railway with an independent route to Scotland, in opposition to the rival London & North Western line. The railway extends for 113 miles, the easternmost sections having been constructed by the Leeds & Bradford and `Little' North Western railways, while the spectacular northwards continuation from Settle to Carlisle was built by the Midland.
Opened in 1875, the Settle & Carlisle line was built at a relatively late date by an imperial nation at the height of its power, and the infrastructure exemplifies Victorian construction techniques at their most confident. There are no less than 25 viaducts, together with 85 overbridges, 130 underbridges and 13 tunnels - the massive arched viaducts having an imperial grandeur that echoes the splendours of ancient Rome. Although it has been threatened with closure at various times, the Settle & Carlisle route remains in operation as part of the national rail system, and it is now regarded as a tourist attraction in its own right.
Stanley C. Jenkins, who was educated at Witney Grammar School, the University of Lancaster and the University of Leicester, has written over 20 books and some 750 articles on local, transport and regional history. Having worked as an English Language teacher at Oxford Air Training School for several years, he returned to Leicester University to retrain as a museum curator in 1986, and was subsequently employed by English Heritage as the Regional Curator for South Western England. He is Curatorial Advisor to the Witney & District Museum, and is also working as a curator for the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Trust, which is at present building a military museum at Woodstock. Martin Loader has been interested in railways since the late 1960s, but only starting taking photographs seriously with the acquisition of his first 'proper' camera in 1978.