A TALK celebrating the lives of two railway contractors who took part in the construction of the Settle-Carlisle railway has been organised in Hawes.

Ruth Annison has organised a two-day programme to mark and celebrate the lives of Abraham Woodiwiss and George Benton who constructed a section of railway in the 19th century.

Ms Annison, who put together 'In Search of Mr Woodiwiss', which includes a programme of talks and a guided footpath walk from Hawes to Garsdale, said the event will take place later this month.

In 1876, Mr Woodiwiss and Mr Benton built a section of the landmark railway, including Garsdale railway station and the nearby Methodist chapel.

Ms Annison said: "Afterwards, Sir Woodiwiss and Mr Benton were then appointed by the Midland Railway to build the six mile branch line down to Hawes, which opened in 1878, thus completing the final Settle-Carlisle contract."

On Saturday, July 27, a talk with Sir Woodiwiss's great-granddaughter and great-great nephew will be held, before a guided footpath walk on Sunday, July 28.

Ms Annison said: "They will put the family’s origins and railway heritage in a wider perspective, and local speakers will focus on the Garsdale-Hawes branch.

"Saturday’s programme also includes a rare opportunity to see the professionally restored Book of Bridges, which contains the original 1870s engineering drawings for the railway structures, bridges, between Garsdale and Hawes.

"The short Garsdale-Hawes branch reflects but a fragment of Benton and Woodiwiss’s substantial work in building many railways – tracks, embankments, viaducts and tunnels, during a period of historic infrastructure investment and national development.

"Railways superseded much of the work of canals in transporting freight – they also spearheaded opportunities for passenger travel and personal mobility which are now taken for granted."

On Sunday, members will meet in Hawes before the guided footpath walk to Garsdale takes place.

An official venue for 'In Search of Mr Woodiwiss' is yet to be arranged, but advance planning for journeys by public transport is advised.

Entry to both days is free, but booking for Saturday's talks is required while no booking is needed for the guided walk.

The deadline to register interest is on Thursday, July 18.

For more information telephone Ms Annison on 01969-650349.