This film is part of Free

The Long Drag

Not just a chance to see locomotives steaming over viaducts, with the axe hanging over both, here we have the full glory of the Settle to Carlisle line, and its place in rural life.

Documentary 1963 51 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


A real labour of love, this film is a fine demonstration of how amateur filmmakers could play a part in campaigning for local services. With the impending Beeching Report of 1963 there could hardly have been a better plea for the retention of the Settle to Carlisle railway and all its services than this traversing of the whole length of the line by train and by foot, stopping off to reveal its many wonders and recording the fascinating history of the line and of those who built it.

This award winning film was made by members of Halifax Cine Club, founded in 1938 and having at its height nearly a hundred members (and still going). Although not overtly a referring to the impending Beeching Report, the filmmakers clearly had this in mind in making the film, highlighting the plight of the 6,000 navvies who built the line. Despite the Beeching recommendation to withdraw all passenger services from the line being shelved, there were soon plans to close the line. An announcement to close the line in 1983 was successfully campaigned against by the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line, stations have been re-opened and the line now thrives with some 1.2 million passengers a year.