The plan by Network Rail is to replace England's signal boxes with a total of 14 centralised control centres. This will save money but not I suspect in the long run lives. At the moment there are 5,600 front line staff operating signals, that is a lot of signal boxes. It was therefore a surprise to see the Garsdale signal box covered in scaffolding so perhaps the grand plan is not happening for a while.
All seemed quiet on the station and the buildings looked in pristine condition. Their refurbishment using the designs of 1876 gained MFG Construction the National Railway Heritage Craft Skills Award in 2009.
On this day there were contractors busy working on the line itself on this exposed track. In past times when there was a turntable here it was protected by walls of sleepers so the locomotives would not be spun by strong winds. Oh look the signal is up
for a freight train which for safety reasons passed the workers at a very slow speed, ideal for the photographer. The Settle to Carlisle line not only carries passengers but a massive amount of freight and this only happens today because people fought to keep the line open when it was in danger of closure. The short term view of the original decision shown to be wrong.
Just seen to the left of this photograph is a statue of a border collie called Ruswarp (pronounced Russup) which both commemorates the dog and its owner Graham Nuttall, who was a founder member of the Settle-Carlisle line pressure group. Ruswarp, as he was a paying passenger of the line, signed the original petition against closure along with his human owner, but with his paw print. Graham went missing in January 1990 while walking in the Welsh mountains never to return, his body was discovered 11 weeks later with Ruswarp still beside him having survived the winter weather but so weak he had to be carried off the mountain. The 14 year old dog attended his owners funeral but passed away soon after. Garsdale was a favourite place so the Friends of Settle-Carlisle Line placed the statue here to symbolise the successful campaign to save the line for future generations and also to the memory of Graham Nuttall and his faithful dog.