WITH the death of Ruth Evans during January it is very much the end of an era for the Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line, ‘FoSCL’.

For over four decades as a member of ‘FoSCL’ she promoted the Settle Carlisle Railway in so many ways.

It was Ruth who with a great deal of help organised the two separate open days at Ribblehead when it was possible for the public to walk across the legendary viaduct.

On the first occasion during 2007 a two-week closure for an upgrade of the Settle - Carlisle line allowed Network Rail to agree to this. Over 3100 pre booked people were escorted across in small groups.

Prior to this there was a huge amount of work involved in organising everything not least health and safety. Parking being limited a bus service was arranged from both Horton in Ribblesdale and Ingleton. During 2009 all this was repeated again with pre bookings.

So well did this go and that despite atrocious weather all booked places were honoured. Eventually Network rail was so impressed that during the afternoon the walk across the viaduct was opened to all comers.

Then there was the time when Ruth contacted Buckingham Palace with a view to offering Prince Charles a known railway fan the chance to ride over the Settle Carlisle in the Royal Train hauled by a steam locomotive.

The powers that be replied very much in the affirmative Ruth being instructed to ‘get on with organising it’.

This was a fantastic success. Princess Coronation Class 46233 Duchess of Sutherland being borrowed from the Midland Railway Society at Butterley. There was a great deal of behind-the-scenes work including one memorable day when the Royal security team had to traverse the course of the line in a fleet of cars.

It was January and approaching Ais Gill one of these vehicles ran off the road during a snow storm into a dry-stone wall. The occupants in their polished black smooth soled shoes were clearly literally out of their depth in the conditions.

Ruth, a seasoned fell walker, called on a local farmer she knew to bring his tractor to the rescue.

A select band of people chosen by Ruth joined the Royal Train at Settle enjoying afternoon tea with Prince Charles who at Kirkby Stephen donned appropriate apparel to meet the crew on the footplate for a short ride as far as Appleby.

Ruth was also a volunteer fundraiser for Yorkshire Air Ambulance for many years. On one memorable occasion when one helicopter was still based at Yeadon a group of us were invited over to the control centre there to view the inside of the helicopter. Our visit was curtailed due to a ‘shout’ but we were then treated to a fish and chip lunch at a local restaurant.

It would be to invite writer’s cramp to try to list all the activities around the railway with which Ruth has been involved, guided walks and on train guides figuring strongly.

She has always been a big fan of the volunteers who are the lifeblood of the ‘Friends’ and, recognising their worth organised regular events supporting them, for example a trip by coach to Alston and the South Tyndale narrow gauge railway for a run over this line by private train.

There were numerous events at the Victoria Hall in Settle where following a meal entertainment would be provided.

Ruth Ruth was born in Greenwich, South London. The daughter of an electrician, she won a place to the local grammar school, did a languages degree at college and ended up working in both the City of London and Zurich for a very posh Swiss bank.

When she married a Yorkshire-born metallurgist and moved to Leeds, one of her first moves was to set out and explore the Dales along with her husband and their two sons. She said she had fallen in love with the Dales at first sight.

When the blow fell in the mid-1980s that British Rail wanted to close the line, she, using her banker skills, submitted a paper outlining the economic and social costs of closing the line.

Her paper may well have played a key role in the successful campaign fought by ‘ordinary’ folk against ‘authority’ to keep the line open - with a little help from former transport minister Michael Portillo and president of the FoSCL.

Ruth once famously remarked that, ‘life is for living and I can very well recommend it’.

All we can say is ‘Amen’ to that and thank you for everything, Ruth.