Thursday, April 25, 2013

Reopening the Wensleydale Railway

From the Wensleydale Railway website:
The Railway in Wensleydale is a remarkable survivor. Having lost its passenger services in 1954, and almost half its route mileage by the early 1960s, the line survived until 1992 by carrying limestone to the smelters on Teesside. When that traffic finished, the MOD decided to use the line for the occasional transport of military vehicles, something which continues to this day, and this kept the line alive long enough for the Wensleydale Railway Association (formed in 1990) to build support and eventually form a company to take a 100 year lease on the 22 miles of line from Northallerton to Redmire. 
The line reopened to passenger traffic from Leeming Bar to Leyburn in 2003, and the following year the section to Redmire was also opened. The line now serves Leeming Bar, Bedale , Finghall Lane, Leyburn and Redmire, a distance of 16 miles. In 2013 we expect to open the line to a new station at Northallerton West which will give us a first, temporary, presence in the County Town, and Scruton will also open as the first intermediate stop on this section. Passenger services will then run for 22 miles, and we will have put something back which has been missing for almost 50 years. 
In the longer term, we intend to rebuild the line west of Redmire to Castle Bolton, Aysgarth, Hawes and eventually Garsdale on the famous Settle to Carlisle Railway.
There were occasional Dalesrail excursion trains from York to Redmire in the 1970s and early 80s. I travelled on one while a student. It was St George's Day, 1981, and there had been an unseasonable fall of snow. It was impossible to see the tracks in front of the train and we were lucky it ran at all.

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