La'al Ratty Steam Train
Opened in 1875 to bring iron ore to the Furness Railway, the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway or "La'al Ratty" as it is affectionately known, started carrying passengers the following year.The railway has had a very unsettled history since the iron traffic dwindled to nothing so the line was in financial difficulty and granite quarries were opened to provide traffic.
The 3 foot gauge track was closed during 1913 but was unexpectedly re-opened by the famous model-maker, Mr. Bassett-Lowke, the next year on the even narrower gauge of 15 inches.The tiny trains were soon carrying goods again and passengers into and out of the Valley and the granite quarries were busy through until 1953 when they closed.
The railway could not survive solely on the tourist trade that there was then and was finally bought by a group of enthusiasts, backed by Colin Gilbert and Sir Wavell Wakefield M.P., at an auction sale in 1960.
A new company now operates the railway, supported by members of the Preservation Society. The nearly derelict line has been improved greatly since then and is now one of the foremost tourist attractions in the North-West of England.