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The paw-print that helped save a Yorkshire Dales railway line

[Thursday 08 May 2008]
The paw-print that helped save a Yorkshire Dales railway line

THE Settle-Carlisle railway line is now a hugely popular route through the Yorkshire Dales – but back in the 1980s this scenic line came very near to closure.

32,000 people and a dog (a fare paying passenger) objected to the proposed closure. The dog was Ruswarp, a Border Collie owned by Graham Nuttall, co-founder of the Friends of the Settle Carlisle line. After years of campaigning, the line was reprieved in 1989 and, such is demand, its capacity is about to double – a remarkable turn of fortune.

Graham Nuttall and Ruswarp were inseparable. On 20th January 1990 they went walking in the hills, but failed to return. Graham’s body was found on 7th April. His faithful dog Ruswarp had stayed with him for 11 winter weeks. The case attracted much attention at the time – the RSPCA honoured Ruswarp and were inundated with offers to care for him. He lived just long enough to be at his master’s funeral.

An appeal has now been launched to commission a bronze statue of Ruswarp, to have a place of honour at Garsdale station, Graham’s favourite place, near to the summit of the Settle-Carlisle Line.

This coincides with restoration of the station by Network Rail. The statue is set to symbolise the campaign to save the line, its subsequent success and the loyalty of ‘man’s best friend’.

If you would like to make a donation, send a cheque payable to ‘The Ruswarp Memorial Fund’, to Project Officer Josie Perriman, Foresters Cottage, 2 Howson’s Yard, Settle BD24 2EG. Or visit www.settle-carlisle.com/webshop, and click on Ruswarp Appeal.

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