Network Rail and partners involved in a restoration project on the famous Settle – Carlisle railway line, are to unveil a prestigious plaque recently presented to them by HRH The Princess Royal. The “First Engineering Award” plaque was handed over by HRH as part of the National Railway Heritage Awards ceremony and will be unveiled at Ribblehead station on 29 January.
The award recognises the best use of traditional craft skills in the restoration of a heritage building or structure and was presented to Network Rail for its Blea Moor dry-stone walling project within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The award reflects three years of hard work and commitment by all involved including Network Rail, the Railway Heritage Trust, Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Settle-Carlisle Railway Trust and Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line.
The aim of the award-winning project was to reinstate the decaying and forgotten dry-stone walls that run along side the Settle to Carlisle line. The newly restored section lies between Blea Moor and Ribblehead and is only the first stage of the scheme. During the work a large emphasis was placed on using local contractors to ensure the walls were fully returned to their former glory and maintaining in their original style.
Award - 2
Although the work at Blea Moor was extremely successful, it wasn’t without a lot of hard labour. Due to the remote location of the wall situated in the Dales and the lack of access roads, the stone used during the project had to be airlifted in by helicopter, before local contractors could begin the planned renewals.
The £120,000 restoration scheme is ongoing with further plans to extend it south as far as Settle Junction and then hopefully head north up to Ais Gill, with all areas receiving the same standard of attention. Once complete the total cost is estimated to be around £450,000 and over 60 miles of dry-stone walls will have been restored.
Chris Gee, Maintence Delivery Manager, Network Rail said: “It’s been a great pleasure working in one of the most scenic areas of the country with very committed and helpful Dales people."