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Written by Richard Tearle - 23 Oct 2007
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Location notes
This is another classic location on the Settle & Carlisle line for northbound trains, from late afternoon to early evening. Although this location has been used for years, this shot is on private ground not covered by either a footpath or Open Access, so it might be worth asking for access at the farm located just before the under bridge on the way to the Smardale Location, Smardale Hall.
For the walkers there is a route over the old North Eastern route from Kirkby Stephen, over the trackbed with magnificent views from the viaduct over Scandal Beck that passes at the end of the road that gives access to this location.
For more information on the Settle and Carlisle line please see the Settle - Carlisle Partnership website and consider joining Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line.
Railway type and traffic
Most of the local services to Carlisle are operated by 158 multiple units.
There are a number of freight services operated by DB Schenker/Freightliner/GBRf. DRS operate the autumnal RHTT trains over the route.
This is in an open field with a very steep walk up from the car which would take around 30 minutes to complete. There is a gentler route by following the footpaths from Cosby Garrett coming from the north southwards, but I have not personally tried this.
Road directions
From the M6, Junction 38:
Head onto the A685 towards Kirkby Stephen. After several miles there is a turning to the left junction before the A683 joins this road on the right. (If you get to Kirkby Stephen station you have come too far, turning around it is the first turning on the right). Follow this road and after it has turned to right you should go over the line and come to a T-junction. Take the left hand turn at this junction, turning right and then left at the next junction. Continue until you come to the ford.

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Smardale Viaduct map co-ordinates
Park on the road just before the ford where there is space for two cars without blocking access to the farm entrance.
Once parked cross the ford by the footbridge and enter the field just at the other side of the ford. Head west through the field keeping to the mainly flat area, and passing an old barn on your left., continue under the viaduct and immediately after the viaduct there is another gate to the field that is to the west of the line. Head up this field, which is very steep until you get three quarters of the way up where you should be able to see the shot.
There is a gentler route by following the footpaths from Cosby Garrett coming from the north southwards, but Iíve not personally tried this.
Public transport
There is a train roughly every 2 hours in each direction to Leeds and Carlisle. The nearest station would be Kirby Stephen, and this would be a good hour walk. There are several buses that serve Kirkby Stephen more information here. Service 571 operates between Kirkby Stephen and Crosby Garret, which might be a shorter walk to the location.

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There are no amenities at the location. The nearest shops, public houses and Bed and Breakfasts would be at Kirkby Stephen.
Sun Compass
Sun Compass using Suncalc by brought to you by Vladimir Agafonkin:
It might be necessary to adjust the time to suit your visit, this link should open with the current day.
Smardale Viaduct

Googly map
Streetmap links
Smardale Viaduct general view map
Smardale Viaduct close up map

Windows Local Live Link - image quality may vary
Smardale Viaduct

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Railway Gen Group
Settle Carlisle
Photographic notes
The best shot at this location is the northbound one from late afternoon to early evening, or to when the sun dips below the hill. Due to the cutting to the north of the line a southbound shot is not possible without a quick move to a farmers bridge over the line, but the shot here is quite poor.

General views - All photographs © Richard Tearle unless otherwise stated
Fig 1 - Looking south

Fig 1 - Looking south

A wide shot showing the viaduct in all its glory in late April on a dull day taken at 16:30 with a 70mm lens.

Fig 2 - Looking south

Fig 2 - Looking south

A narrower shot, forced by the repair work to the viaduct, again taken in late April but on a much brighter day at nearly 19:00 with a 85mm lens. 10 minutes after this shot the sun was below the hill in behind the photographer.

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