The gathering at the official reopening of the Ribblehead visitor centre

The gathering at the official reopening of the Ribblehead visitor centre

Visitors to Ribblehead station on the route of the Yorkshire Three Peaks walk can now take a virtual journey over the area, including the renowned Ribblehead viaduct.

The ExploreMore innovative computer model is part of a new exhibition at the refurbished visitor centre at the station, on the Settle and Carlisle Railway.

The new displays tell the story of the Settle to Carlisle line from its opening in 1876 through to the present day. It describes the building of Ribblehead viaduct and Blea Moor tunnel and what life was like for the workers and their families.

The computer model uses aerial photography, 3D models of features such as the viaduct, and original Midland Railway plans. Using a touch screen, visitors can ‘fly’ over the railway and the surrounding area and find out about features along the line, including stations, the navvy settlement, and archaeological sites.

About a hundred images are available so far, together with stories and links to additional resources. The computer model can also be viewed online.

Settle and Carlisle Railway Trust manages the station and visitor centre and trains run by Northern use the route.

The visitor centre and exhibition have been part-funded by Stories in Stone, a four-year programme of conservation and community projects in the Ingleborough area, led by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and mainly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project was also supported by Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line and Network Rail.

Ribblehead station, with Whernside in the background. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Ribblehead station, with Whernside in the background. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Northern’s managing director David Brown, arrived for the opening at Ribblehead station in the driver’s cab of a train from Leeds and was met by Bryan Gray, chairman of the Settle and Carlisle Railway Trust.

Mr Gray said: “I’m very impressed with the computer model. It makes interpretation of the nationally important heritage around Ribblehead much more widely accessible and engaging, particularly for a younger audience.”

A complementary project to refurbish the waiting shelter on the northbound platform was carried out by volunteers and funded by members of the Settle & Carlisle family of organisations.

Volunteers Ged Pinder and Matt Field made and installed new front panels to original Midland Railway designs.

Debbie Boswell, YDMT’s Discover Ingleborough officer, said: “The station is an important gateway for visitors to the Ingleborough area and we’re delighted with the quality of the refurbishment work and exhibition.

“It’s been wonderful to work in partnership with SCRT, and everyone involved should be proud of the result.”

As well as the visitor centre, the station also has a tearoom and small shop, staffed by volunteers which is open daily from March to October.

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