South Tynedale Railway - Alston, Cumbria.
The South Tynedale Railway is a 2ft (61cm) gauge line, running northwards from the Alston terminus along the former Alston-Haltwhistle branch alignment. Until recently the line was open to the public for 1.5 miles to Gilderdale Halt. Following approval from HM Railway Inspectorate in early September 1999, the Railway is now open a further mile to Kirkhaugh (2.5 miles from Alston). The opening of the extension is a triumph for the small number of volunteers who have put years of effort into re-laying the line.
The original standard-gauge railway was a branch from the Newcastle-Carlisle line; falling victim to BR cuts, this branch was closed in 1976, the rails being torn up and sold as scrap immediately following the closure. Some of the stations were sold as domestic accommodation, whilst the Alston station site was intended for light industrial development.
Formed in 1973 with the initial intention of buying the branch intact, the South Tynedale Railway Preservation Society failed to secure the sale of the railway. As a consequence, in 1977 the decision was made to build a narrow-gauge railway northwards out of the Alston terminus. Following complex negotiations to gain use of the trackbed, tracklaying commenced in 1980 and the first three-quarter mile stretch to a temporary halt was opened in 1983. The link into the more permanent Gilderdale Halt subsequently opened in 1987, and the extension to Kirkhaugh opened in 1999. Future plans aim to extend first to Lintley and then Slaggyford, five miles from Alston. Further extension beyond Slaggyford has not been ruled out, but is not likely for some time.
The line is run on a volunteer basis, being maintained and operated by a dedicated group of enthusiasts. With only 30-40 active volunteers, there is plenty of opportunity to get involved!
My aim with this page is to give you some idea of the atmosphere of the railway, in the hope that you may visit (and have some fun!).
You have permission to use the images on this site for personal use.