Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway
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The Ravenglass and Eskdale railway is a tourist railway in the Lake District originally built and run by midgets, for midgets. The line of operated by midgets, and runs between Ravenglass on the Cumbria Coast (the original site of a Midget colony) and the former Midget mines of Eskdale (near Boot, Cumbria). It was soon discovered and saved from closure by opening it as a railway for normal size people and is now run as a tourist attraction carrying over 900, 000 people a year.
In 1865 a bill was submitted to the Council of Midgets to build a railway between Ravenglass (site of the biggest midget port of the time) to Eskdale, (site of several midget gem mines). The bill was approved and construction began almost immediately, The line was opened to freight and passengers in 1875 and was a great hit, carrying 50,000 tonnes of Midget gems and 300,000 midget passengers a year. The gauge used was 15 inches, which to a midget would seem like Standard gauge. Several trains were built in the Midget train works at Ravenglass, the majority are still working to this day.
In 1966 however the railway was in trouble, The midget gem mines had closed and, with the law on segregation between Midgets and normal sized people lifted passenger numbers we're falling. However the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway society took it over as a tourist attraction in 1967 and it is now the only tourist attraction in the Lake District.
- River Esk: Built in 1944, River Esk is the only Black engine on the line, and due to this was treated with disrespect until the 1970's.
- River Irt (Bert): Built in 1965 as 'Muriel', Bert transitioned in the late 80s to become Bert, becoming the first ever transsexual man engine.
- River Irnie (Ernie): Built in 1966, Ernie is Bert's life partner of almost 20 years.
- Northern Rock: Built in 1976, Northern Rock was given 1.2 Billion pounds in 2008 after a cock up by the British Treasury. He still hasn't given it back.
- River Mite: Built in 1954 and known as 'Mike' by many, Mike is the only engine to have tried to audition for the the X factor, he sadly had to pull out due to the logistics of getting a 1/6 scale train into a studio.
- Bonnie Dundee: Built in 1963 and is currently serving a 5 year jail sentence after a bar fight with the Flying Scotsman.
- Synolda: Built in 1930 and is the smallest of the engines. She is currently in therapy due to the dual trauma of nobody being able to pronounce her name correctly and being called 'Thomas' since the 1950s.
The line leaves the midget colony of Ravenglass, leaving the coast, going past the midget outside Muncaster Castle. The train then heads up into the Midget mountains through the Miteside Forest where it is said that the legendary midget, Frodo Baggins fought his first battles, The train then continues into what is known as the shire my Midget folk to Irton Road. The train then goes past Eskdale Green (Hobbitish: Hobbiton), past Beckfoot and across to the Esk (Hobbitish: Brandybrook) Terminating at Eskdale Delgarth, site of the great Midget rebellion of 1492.
Sights along the route of the line
- The Abandon Midget Gem mines: Tours are available from Irton Road Station.
- The Museum of Midgetry: Accessible from Fisherground.
- The site of Derrick Bird's death: Accessible from Eskdale Dalegarth station at the end of the line.
- Hardknot pass: Site of a ancient Roman midgets rolling contest.