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Garsdale Railway Station is a railway station which serves the immediate hamlet of Garsdale Head, Cumbria, England, together with the valley of Garsdale and the adjoining towns of Sedbergh and Hawes. It is operated by Northern Rail who provide all passenger train services.
Adjoining the station are sixteen Railway Cottages built for its employees by the Midland Railway around 1876, the year the Settle-Carlisle Line opened. A further six cottages were added near to the Moorcock Inn soon afterwards.
The station once boasted the highest water troughs in the world (just along the line at Ling Gill), and a waiting room where Anglican church services were held.
Also Garsdale, in steam days, had a turntable with a wall of sleepers around it to prevent locomotives being spun by strong winds as happened in 1900, this being the inspiration for the story Tenders and Turntables in the book Troublesome Engines in The Railway Series by Rev W. Awdry.
The site of the Hawes Junction rail crash of 1910 is near to the station which was originally known as Hawes Junction, as it was the junction of a branch line to Hawes. This branch line was closed in 1959, but the main line is in regular use for both passenger and goods trains. It is the long term aim of the Wensleydale Railway to extend their rails along the former route from Redmire to connect with services here, allowing through journeys to Northallerton on the East Coast Main Line.
Garsdale Railway Station is located at a bleak spot, overlooking the head of Garsdale. There is no real centre, just a scattered community with a line of former railway staff cottages, a number of isolated farms, a Mount Zion Chapel, and the The Garsdale and Near the Moorcock Inn.
Many of the original railway fittings have been removed, notably the turntable, which has been restored and installed at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.
Originally this station was called Hawes Junction, and there was a six mile line to Hawes. Here the line became the North Eastern line to Northallerton. The Wensleydale Railway Association are actively trying to revive part of this line.
The waiting room of the northbound platform was used for church services, the ladies waiting room contained a library of 150 books, and the stone base of the water tower was used as a village hall.
Nearby is the Moorcock Viaduct, which crosses Dandry Mire, and the vantage point just north of Garsdale, overlooking Dandry Mire, is one of the most popular photographic positions on the railway.
There is free car parking at the station.
In the 1980's the railway line was under threat of almost certain closure. One of the earliest campaigners against closure was Graham Nuttall, co-founder of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Railway Line. He and his dog Ruswarp were inseparable. Ruswarp's paw print was deemed acceptable a valid signature amongst tens of thousands objecting to closure.
Graham lived just long enough to see the line's reprieve in 1989, for on 20th Jan 1990, he and Ruswarp went missing in Wales. The case aroused national interest. On 7th April 1990, a lone walker found Graham's body by a mountain stream. Nearby was Ruswarp who had stayed with his dead master for eleven winter weeks - so weak that the 14 year old dog had to be carried off the mountain.
This bronze statue by sculptress Joel Walker was placed here at Garsdale in 2009 by the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line to symbalise the successful campaign to save the line for future generations to use and enjoy, and to the memory of Graham Nuttall and his faithful dog Ruswarp. This was their favourite place.