A BRONZE sculpture of a faithful dog whose paw print was included in a petition to help save the Settle-Carlisle railway from closure remains a constant reminder to those who use the line of the huge amount of work carried out to keep it open.

Ruswarp (pronounced Russup) was a border collie owned by rail enthusiast Graham Nuttall.

Mr Nuttall was among the original group determined to save the line and became secretary of the Friends of Settle-Carlisle Line.

As Ruswarp was a fare paying passenger - in that his owner paid for his seat whenever they travelled - his paw print was regarded as a genuine signature.

Ruswarp and Mr Nuttall, from Burnley, were inseparable.

However, on January 20, 1990, not long after the line received its reprieve, Mr Nuttall went missing.

He had bought day return tickets from Burnley to Llandrindod Wells for himself and his faithful collie to go walking in the Welsh Mountains, but he never returned home.

Neighbours raised the alarm, but it wasn't until April 7 that walker David Clarke found Mr Nuttall's body by a mountain stream.

Nearby was Ruswarp, so weak that the 14-year-old dog had to be carried off the mountain.

He had stayed with his master's body for 11 weeks and lived just long enough to attend his funeral.

Through Ruswarp, the plight of the Settle to Carlisle railway leapt back into the public mind because, though reprieved, the line needed massive investment.

However, another chapter was written into the story.

Back in 2006, Stewart Lewis, of Barnoldswick, suggested in a letter to the Craven Herald that the Friends group commission a statue.

Mr Lewis had already collected some money to have a plaque dedicated to Mr Nuttall's memory which was placed on a seat at Garsdale Station.

The Friends did just that and asked for donations towards the £8,000 cost of a life-size bronze statue of Ruswarp which was also to be placed at Garsdale, Mr Nuttall's favourite place, when work to restore the remote station was completed by Network Rail.

The pledge by the rail company to carry out the restoration work was something Mr Nuttall would have been delighted to learn about, and it was fitting the statue of Ruswarp be placed there.

However, generous donors, touched by the story of Ruswarp's dedication, surpassed the Friends' wildest dreams and more than £14,000 was raised in a very short time with the extra money helping to fund associated work such as paving, lighting and interpretive signs.

The bronze statue, created by sculptor Joel Walker, was unveiled on April 11, 2009, on the 20th anniversary of the line receiving its reprieve.