Heritage Locations

Ingleton Viaduct

Striking viaduct across a steep valley with a peculiar history.


Period of construction:
1850 - 1899

Transport Trust plaque:

Transport Mode:

Ingleton Tourist information Service, The community Centre, Ingleton LA6 3HP


Nearest Town:

Heritage Centre:

Ingleton lay on the route envisaged by the directors of the 'Little' North Western Railway for their route from Skipton to Scotland, aiming to join the Lancaster & Carlisle Railway at Lowgill, south of Tebay. In 1848 they opened their first part of the line from Skipton as far as Ingleton, but paused to draw breath at the southern edge of the steep valley in the middle of the town. Meanwhile the Lancaster & Carlisle planned its link southward from Lowgill towards Ingleton and drew up plans which included the construction of three significant viaducts, at Lowgill, across the Lune, and at Ingleton.

Structures and earthworks consumed the Lune Valley as 1,600 navvies pieced the route together with characteristic Victorian courage. Its 32 km (19 miles) were split into four contractual sections, three of which encompassed substantial viaducts - Lowgill, Lune and Ingleton, the latter being the longest at 244 m (800 ft). (see OTH entries).Forty men were engaged to build it and did so, without loss of life or broken limb, in just two years. The line's resident engineer had the honour of fixing the final keystone in place. Eleven 16 m (57 ft) arches strode across the valley dominating the little town. All was set for the link-up with the 'Little' North Western.

However, the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway, including the Ingleton Branch, was now leased to the LNWR, and the North Western Railway to the Midland. The latter set about doubling the single line into Ingleton from the south, anticipating completion of the new link through to Scotland. The inaugural train pulled in on Monday 16th September 1861, but the two companies were unable to reach agreement for shared use of the Midland station. Consequently, the LNWR opened their own station at the northern end of the viaduct, about a mile out of town. Thus passengers were confronted by a strenuous walk across the viaduct when changing trains.

Services on the LNWR branch were slow - taking an hour from one end to the other - and the LNWR deliberately mis-timed its trains to ensure poor connections with the Midland. The promised through services failed to materialise. The consequence was that the Midland went ahead with building the Settle & Carlisle line in order to get its line to Scotland.

Today the viaduct is till there. The LNWR station has been converted into a tourist information centre, while the site of the Midland station is derelict.


Bairstow, M. The 'Little' North Western Railway, Martin Bairstow, Leeds, ISBN 1 871944 21X (2000)

Biddle, Gordon, Britain's Historic Railway Buildings, Oxford University Press, ISBN-10: 0198662475 (2003)

Biddle, Gordon & Nock, O.S., The Railway Heritage of Britain : 150 years of railway architecture and engineering, Studio Editions, ISBN-10: 1851705953 (1990)

Biddle, Gordon and Simmons, J., The Oxford Companion to British Railway History, Oxford, ISBN 0 19 211697 5 (1997)

Binns, D., Railways Around Skipton, Wyvern Publications, ASIN B000RZAM9M (1981)

Bonavia, Michael, Historic Railway Sites in Britain, Hale, ISBN 0 7090 3156 4 (1987)

Conolly, W. Philip, British Railways Pre-Grouping Atlas And Gazetteer, Ian Allan Publishing, ISBN 0-7110-0320-3 (1958/97)

Jowett, Alan, Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland,  Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0086-1. (March 1989)

Morgan, Bryan, Railways: Civil Engineering, Arrow, ISBN 0 09 908180 6 (1973)

Morgan, Bryan, Railway Relics, Ian Allan, ISBN 0 7110 0092 1 (1969)

Simmons, J., The Railways of Britain, Macmillan, ISBN 0 333 40766 0 (1961-86)

Simmons, J., The Victorian Railway, Thames & Hudson, ISBN 0 500 25110X (1991)

Smith, Martin, British Railway Bridges and Viaducts, Ian Allan, ISBN 0 7110 2273 9 (1994)

Suggitt, G., Lost Railways of Lancashire, Countryside Books, Newbury, ISBN 1 85306 801 2 (2004 reprint)

Western, R. G., The Lowgill Branch, Oakwood, ISBN-10 0853610212 (1971)

Opening Times:
Visible at all times but not accessible.

How To Find:
By road: Off A65/B6255 - once in Ingleton, impossible to miss.


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