The Bentham Line (Leeds to Lancaster and Morecambe)
The Bentham Line (Leeds to Lancaster & Morecambe) often referred to as the ‘Little North Western’ is a gem of a line but it is often eclipsed by its more well known neighbour the Settle Carlisle line. Crossing three rivers the Lune, Wenning and Ribble, the line is very picturesque with excellent views to the Dales, Ingleborough and towards the Forest of Bowland.
At Morecambe stroll along the promenade, with its stunning views across the Morecambe Bay towards the Lake District fells, visit the TIC located in the former Promenade Railway Station and take in the recently restored Midland Hotel. From Morecambe the line passes through Bare Lane on its way to the historic town of Lancaster. From Lancaster the line reaches Carnforth made famous by the film ‘Brief Encounter’. Spend some time here looking around the excellently restored visitor centre and enjoy refreshments in the café. Carnforth is also the junction for trains to the Furness area and Barrow in Furness.
From Carnforth the line crosses the River Lune before reaching Wennington. From there it is a short distance to the delightful market town of Bentham close to the banks of the Wenning. Bentham is a good centre to explore the area and is only three miles from Ingleton and its famous caves and waterfalls and is very close to the three peaks.
Both Clapham and Giggleswick are on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and are a good starting point for walks. The Community Rail Partnership has produced a guide setting out a selection of walks and this can be downloaded.
The Bentham Line has a community rail partnership (the Leeds, Lancaster & Morecambe CRP) and has been granted designation by the Department for Transport under the Government’s Community Rail Strategy.
The Leeds, Lancaster & Morecambe Community Rail Partnership (LLMCRP) has a management group that meets quarterly. The group consists of officers and representatives from North Yorkshire County Council, Lancashire County Council, Lancaster City Council, Craven District Council, Northern Rail and Network Rail. The group also has a representative from each of the following; Lancaster & Skipton Rail Users Group, Aire Valley Rail Users Group, Lancaster, Morecambe & District Rail User Group and the Friends of Bentham Station. LLMCRP is a company limited by guarantee and has a board of directors.
The Department for Transport’s designation process requires that every community rail partnership (CRP) with a designated line and/or service maintains paperwork including a Route Prospectus, Terms of Reference, and an annual Action Plan, that is reviewed and amended as appropriate. Each CRP is also asked to produce an Annual Report of its activities. To view the paperwork for the Leeds, Lancaster & Morecambe CRP (The Bentham Line) click the link.