A Very Brief History
It is hoped that a more comprehensive history of the railway will be added soon. In the meantime, a very potted history is provided below. 
The Eden Valley Railway was opened to freight traffic on 8th April 1862 and passenger traffic on 7th June 1862. The Stockton & Darlington Railway took on the running of the line from the outset, services running from Kirkby Stephen to a south facing junction at Clifton on the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway. This inconvenient arrangement came about due to the L & C Railway fearing the Eden Valley Railway could become part of a rival through route to Scotland. This arrangement was soon revised and a more direct route to Penrith was built, the through service to Penrith starting on 1st August 1863, by which time the line had become part of the North Eastern Railway. 
Initially the passenger service was two trains per day: this eventually became five per day, a pattern which continued with only minor changes throughout the NER period. 
The opening of the Cockermouth, Keswick & Penrith Railway and the Redhills Curve allowed direct running of trains to the iron and steel industries of West Cumberland without a reversal at Penrith, and much freight passed over the Eden Valley line. In 1887-1889 coke traffic reached over 200,000 tons per annum and although this traffic declined dramatically thereafter it revived during the First World War before declining again afterwards. The Redhills curve was removed in 1936 and from then on freight traffic was purely local. 
In LNER days passenger services were extended to Darlington over the Stainmore line with the Tebay section becoming a branch in passenger terms. This continued into British Railways days until the introduction of diesel multiple units in 1958 when the service was reduced to three trains per day. 
Following a closure proposal in 1959 and a long battle the passenger service was withdrawn on 22nd January 1962. The Appleby to Clifton Moor section closed completely with the Appleby to Kirkby Stephen section remaining open for traffic from Hartley Quarry, east of Kirkby Stephen. The Warcop to Hartley Quarry section was closed in 1974 leaving just the Appleby to Warcop section for Army traffic until 1989. A few special trains ran over the line in 1990, after which the line fell into disuse. The line has never been formally closed. 
The Eden Valley Railway Society, later the Eden Valley Railway Trust, was formed in 1995 to preserve the Warcop to Appleby section of the old line and if possible to extend to Kirkby Stephen once the initial section was in operation. 
In 1995 the British Rail Board was contacted with a view to purchasing the line. Talks continued until 1998 when 
the Trust was informed that the line had been sold to Railway Paths Ltd. The Eden Valley Railway Trust and Railway Paths Ltd reached an agreement to share the line and in 1999 permission was given to start work on the line. Working from Warcop towards Appleby ten years of vegetation was cleared from the trackbed. The Trust was also given the option to purchase the first two miles of the line from Warcop, an option which has been taken up. 
Brake van rides from Warcop Station to the headshunt at Flitholme were started in 2003 using the MLVs as motive power. After a lot of work Good Friday 2006 saw the first passenger train run west from Warcop, the service being extended to Sandford Bridge as track renovation progressed. Services had to be suspended in May 2007 after an Army lorry struck the Warcop road bridge. After 18 months of discussions with the MOD the bridge was repaired, this repair taking only three weeks. Services restarted at Easter 2009 and an extra half-mile beyond Sandford Bridge has been restored and opened for passenger service in April 2013, taking the passenger service to the limit of line owned by the Trust. Discussions with Railway Paths Ltd on further progress towards Appleby are (sometimes) ongoing.

A detailed history of the line is available in The Eden Valley Railway by Robert Western, published by The Oakwood Press, ISBN 978-0853617358. Copies of this book are available for purchase at Warcop.

The only other book covering the line in detail is The Stainmore and Eden Valley Railways by Peter Walton, published by Oxford Publishing Company, ISBN 978-0860936558. This book is currently out of print and we have none available at Warcop.

Page last updated on 12th January 2018 by Caroline Mitchell