After countless disputes between the Midland Railway and the London North Western Company, the 23 mile long double track branch line was constructed from the South to Low Gill where it joined the main line from Euston to Carlisle, close to the current M6.  The Low Gill viaduct still stands and is visible from the main line and indeed the M6.

Sedbergh Station was constructed a mile from the town on the Kendal road, the tracks being carried over the road on a bridge, then southwards on an embankment, into a cutting, and it then crossed the Kirkby Lonsdale road curving down to a bridge over the River Rawthey.

There was a sparse passenger service, usually three times a day each way, and a local pick-up goods train in both directions, too.  Barbon, Kirkby Lonsdale and Ingleton also had stations and goods yards.  The line was valuable as a diversionary route, particularly so when the Settle-Carlisle line was blocked by snow drifts for eight weeks, in February and March, in the very cold winter of 1947.

I was at Hart House from 1946-50, and I spent many hours running up to Low Gill (5½ miles) with Brian Isaac, in all weathers, just in running kit!  I took a rather primitive camera with me. When talking about the leavers on the last night of term, John Coldham, my Housemaster, whilst listing my achievements said “I must say, Tom Wall has a rather one-tracked mind!”

At the beginning and end of School terms, special trains conveyed boys and Casterton girls to Clapham and onwards to Leeds (attached to Morecambe trains), and to Lancaster and Carlisle on the main line from Low Gill.

The line was closed to passenger traffic on Saturday 30th January 1954.  It was closed completely the following year, and the tracks were lifted in 1967.

Download more information about the Sedbergh branch line here

Peter Wall (H 46-50)
July 2015