Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
Cumbria CA18 1SW
Affectionately known locally as "La'al Ratty", the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway (RAER) is a marvellous narrow gauge line in the western Lake District in north-west England.
The 15 inch (381 mm) heritage railway runs between Dalegarth near Boot Village in the Eskdale Valley to the Cumbrian coastal village of Ravenglass. Ravenglass has a mainline railway connection and many visitors start their trip at this terminus.
Other visitors choose to drive across the challenging Hardknott Pass to Boot in Eskdale at the foot of England’s highest mountains, and board the little railway at the Dalegarth terminus.
The Steam Engines & Rolling Stock are perfect fully working miniatures
No matter what age you are and which route you choose, you are in for a delightful 7 mile (11.3 km) journey. It is as if your Hornby train set has come to life.
The steam engines and rolling stock are perfect in every detail and work exactly the same as a full sized engine. At each terminus the engines are turned around on a miniature gauge turntable and watered from a narrow gauge tank stand.
This extraordinary line was built in 1875 to carry iron-ore from the workings near Boot to the coast at Ravenglass. Originally it was built to a gauge of 3 feet (910mm) but it was abandoned when the iron-ore mining failed. It became a narrow gauge railway in 1915.
It was used as a test line for newly built little Narrow Gauge locomotives. The line was considered to provide “…fairly hard operating conditions.”
While the large stone quarry at Beckfoot continued to operate, "La'al Ratty" was used to transport the quarried stone. When the railway was no longer viable, locals rallied to preserve their link with the coast. The railway was saved for posterity in the 1960s and has gone from strength to strength ever since.
Accommodation - Search & Book through Tripadvisor here:
The route runs from the coastal estuary village of Ravenglass, across the tidal Burwash Marsh with its abundance of birds, into Miterdale. On the way the track follows the River Mite, passing old Muncaster Mill with its waterwheel. You get good views of the craggy Muncaster Fell before the track enters woods where you just might be lucky enough to spot some red squirrels.
Throughout the length of the track are Request Halts and Stations accessing lovely walks throughout the Lake District National Park. Look out for tiny Miteside Halt which is an upright boat hull with a seat inside!
Irton Road station is great for watching passing trains
The line climbs up the side of Miterdale to the summit at Walk Mill then it is full steam ahead to Irton Road. This is the main passing place for the line and quite a popular place for train watchers to see two of the RAER fleet’s engines at the same time.
Irton Road station is the only original building on the line. It serves the western end of Eskdale Green village. From here, the line falls some 20 feet (6 metres) to the valley of the River Esk and the skyline is dominated from now on by craggy Harter Fell which stands some 2160 feet (658 metres) above sea level. After passing through Eskdale Green Station the engines climb the steepest section of the line known as Hollinghow Bank.
We are really getting into spectacular scenery now; the line hugs the northern side of the valley, providing a break between the ruggedness of the bracken clad hillside and the softer, farmland below. The local Herdwick sheep abound, deer are frequently seen in the woods and buzzards circle in the sky.
The railway runs on a ledge above the valley road, passing the old 250 foot (76 metre) quarry face at Beckfoot. The last section of the line takes the form of a further steep climb through Beckfoot Wood, before levelling out and curving round to the terminus at Dalegarth Station.
Plan Your Trip
Accommodation - Search & Book through Agoda here:
Yes. For further details (in a Pdf format) go to Web: Ravenglass Railway/ Accessibility Statement
The station building has a Ticket Office, The Scafell Gift Shop and the Fellbites Eatery.
The platforms are level with the building and tracks making access to the trains easy and completely wheelchair friendly.
Underneath the station building and level with the car park and adventure playground is a Function Room which also contains fascinating free exhibitions on the line’s history and the area’s important Roman connections.
Operating Times and Fares
The railway runs all year with regular services. The RAER has an excellent website with full details of services, combined tickets with other Lake District attractions and news of forthcoming special events.
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1229 717 171
Getting to Ravenglass
- By Road
Ravenglass nestles just off the main A595. Brown information signs direct visitors to the boundaries of the Western Lake District from the M6, Junctions 36 and 40. Sat Nav - key in CA18 1SW.
From M6 Junction 36
- follow the brown Western Lake District signs to Broughton-in-Furness, passing Newby Bridge on the A590 and turning right at Greenodd onto the A5092. From Broughton follow the A595 to Silecroft T junction (turn right) and beyond.
From M6 Junction 40
- follow the brown Western Lake District signs past Keswick and Bassenthwaite Lake on the A66 towards Cockermouth. Turn left at the Cockermouth roundabout onto the A5086. Follow the A5086 to Egremont where it joins the A595. Turn left for Ravenglass following the A595.
From Ambleside and Coniston
- Consider using the A593 passing through Torver before arriving at Broughton. From Windermere and Bowness take the A592 to Newby Bridge.
- By Rail
The RAER station is adjacent to Ravenglass Mainline Station. Providing connections to Lancaster and Morecambe, Grange-over-Sands, Windermere and Oxenholme.
Regular Northern trains travel on the scenic Cumbrian Coast Line between Carlisle, Whitehaven and Barrow calling at Ravenglass every day except Sunday. For fares go to Web: National Rail Enquiries
Google Maps - Ravenglass Cumbria
Getting to Boot
- By Road
Various scenic routes offer spectacular journeys. From the central lakes consider the dramatic Wrynose Pass and Hardknott Pass route to Eskdale but be aware of the 1-in-three ascents and descents, single track road and hairpin bends. Also look for Birker Fell, and the Corney Fell options on any detailed map.
Google Maps - Dalegarth near Boot