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A seven mile narrow gauge railway through the Eskdale valley taking in some of the best views in the Lake District

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Ravenglass Village
Great Views from Open Carriages
In 1875, a railway was built to transport iron ore in the Eskdale area of the Lake District. Eventually it fell into disuse with an uncertain future. Finally, in 1960, it was purchased by a preservation society whose aim was to recreate the train line as a tourist attraction and a functional monument to the past. They succeeded on all counts, as the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway is now one of the most popular attractions in the area.
The first thing you'll notice about the train line is its unusual size. It looks almost like a model, with a tiny track that has just 15 inches between the rails. Many people will have this first encounter at the village of Ravenglass, which is the railway's biggest station.

A steam train on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway
Photo Mike__Lawrence
It is situated on the south-western side of the Lake District, at the point where three rivers meet, and join the sea. Ravenglass is actually the only coastal village in the whole National Park. It grew up as a supply point and defensive stronghold for the Romans, who occupied the place for over three centuries. Traces of their presence can still be seen in the village, most notably at Walls Castle, where some walls from an old bath house are still standing.
Before you climb aboard the train, its worth taking the time to look around the rest of the village. The residents here are immensely proud of their railway, which they often refer to as "la'al Ratty". There's a museum here, charting the history of the line using photos, video, and models. There's also a pub called "Ratty Arms", which has been serving hungry and thirsty travellers for years.
When you're finally ready to depart, get your ticket from the station, and clamber aboard one of the carriages. Many of these are not enclosed, meaning that there's no layer of glass between you, and the spectacular scenery you'll witness on your journey. The railway travels for seven miles through the Eskdale Valley, taking in some of the best views that the Lake District has to offer, including sights of the Scafell mountain range, and the Muncaster Watermill. There are several stations along the way, each of which act as the perfect starting point for walks and hikes.
The train eventually arrives at Dalegarth, the other terminus. As you step off the train, you can watch the locomotive being turned around using an old-fashioned turntable, before moving off to explore the village, which sits among some of the highest mountains in the country. This is the location of a new visitor's centre, opened in 2007, which contains a cafe, and a souvenir shop selling a wide range of items. Dalegarth is within striking distance of both Stanley Ghyll Force, a 60-foot-tall waterfall, and St. Catherine's church, a quaint little chapel in the shadow of Scafell Pike.
The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway runs almost all year, with a slight break only in the depths of winter. During the summer, it runs up to 16 trains a day, which are well used by enthusiastic tourists. This is one of the most unique ways to see views of the Lake District.
Visitor Information
The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway runs daily, 9.30am to 5pm (approx). Tickets cost around £7 for adults, £3.50 children. Dove Cottage, Ravenglass, Cumbria CA18 1SW  Tel: 01229 717171

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