Britain’s biggest-selling modern railway magazine has highlighted Cumbria’s ability to lure visitors from all over the world as “a perfect demonstration of the Lake District’s global appeal”.

Rail magazine was invited to explore the county by train during a four-day tour during the summer, with the resulting nine-page feature being split over two issues. Part two of the trip focuses on the Settle-Carlisle and West Coast Main Lines and featured in issue #892, which is on sale now.

The invitation was made by Cumbria Tourism, as part of its ongoing work to encourage visitors to leave the car at home and to build confidence in rail travel.

Using Carlisle as his base for two nights, features editor Paul Stephen described parts of his route as “rail’s little-known gem”, with “a healthy mix” of rolling stock serving six routes in and out of the city.

Penrith station was highly commended at the National Rail Awards this year thanks to its high levels of customer service, with further praise for its good bus links to Keswick and Ullswater. The feature also saw Mr Stephen enjoy the famous Settle-Carlisle railway, where he observed how several passenger services were designed with visitors in mind - thanks to large tour groups being offered insights by volunteers from the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line group.

Reflecting on his visit, Mr Stephen said: “As one of the UK’s most picturesque counties, it is hardly surprising that Cumbria provides a major draw for hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. With climate change, congestion and air pollution all high on the public agenda, there is an easy way for all of us to enjoy this beautifully unique landscape while also doing our bit to protect it. Using the county’s extensive railway network is a cheap, convenient and environmentally conscious way to explore large parts of Cumbria, Carlisle and many of the area’s towns and villages. Meanwhile, the wealth of seascapes and countryside views that can only be glimpsed from the train must surely place Cumbria firmly on the bucket list for any ‘staycationers’ seeking something a bit different.”

Part one of the feature – published in September, saw Mr Stephen stop-off at locations including St Bees, where he found the beach a tempting prospect. The scenery north of St Bees didn’t disappoint him either, describing the “clifftop crawl” as spectacular.

Mr Stephen added: “By serving parts of the county that lie away from the major tourist haunts, opting for the train should also be considered by even the most regular of Lake District visitors, and by those looking to see this much loved part of the world from a new perspective.

“Although perhaps not as famous as the well-trodden railway routes through Dawlish [in Devon], mid-Wales and the Highlands of Scotland, my trip along the Cumbria Coast was the highlight of the year for this particular railway journalist.”

In recent weeks, Chloe Gunning - an ambassador for Lonely Planet, paid a visit to Ullswater by exclusively using public transport, as part of Cumbria Tourism’s long running sustainable travel awareness campaign.