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Dent Station, Settle & Carlisle Railway
1km northeast of Cowgill and 6km east of Dent, Cumbria
Dent Station, Settle & Carlisle Railway
associated engineer
John Sydney Crossley
date  1877
era  Victorian  |  category  Building  |  reference  SD763875
ICE reference number  HEW 959
photo  Paul Dunkerley / ICE R&D Fund
The Settle & Carlisle Railway is Britainís only mainline mountain railway, reaching a maximum height above sea level of 356m by Ais Gill signal box, some 9.6km north of Dent Station, which at 350m above sea level is Englandís highest mainline railway station.
The Settle & Carlisle Railway was built by the Midland Railway to extend their line from St. Pancras Station, London to Leeds onwards to Carlisle, where it would join the West Coast Main Line to Glasgow. The enabling Act of Parliament was passed in July 1866 and up to 2,000 men worked on its construction between 1869 and 1875. The line was mostly used by goods traffic, though it boasted the most comfortable passenger carriages with the best on-board catering.
In its southern section, the railway traverses bare bleak landscapes with high hills, and several major structures were required. These include Ribblehead Viaduct, Blea Moor Tunnel (the highest railway tunnel in Britain) and two large viaducts just south of Dent Station — Dent Head Viaduct and Arten Gill Viaduct. All were engineered by Crossley, chief engineer to the Midland Railway.
The stone station building dates from 1877. There was also an associated snow hut, once used to billet soldiers and railway personnel on snow clearance work — in bad winters trains could be stuck in snow drifts for days.
Dent Station lost its staff in 1969 and British Rail closed the line to passengers in 1970. The building was then used as a school, then as an an Outward Bound centre. It was sold by British Rail in 1985 and converted into a residence, though the original ticket sales window was retained. The line was re-opened for stopping trains in 1988. There is now a fence around the building to keep railway passengers separate from the residents.
Between Dent and Ais Gill to the north is Garsdale, where the highest water troughs in the world were located. These troughs allowed steam engines to take water onboard while in motion.
Main contractor: Benton & Woodiwiss
(section of line immediately north of Dent Head)
Research: PD and AJD
reference sources   CEH North

Dent Station, Settle & Carlisle Railway