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Aln Valley Railway

INFORMATION FOR THE VISITOR


RCD’s Overview

The Aln Valley Railway is based in the historic and popular tourist town of Alnwick, famous in particular for its formidable castle. The railway runs from Alnwick along a section of the former branch line towards Alnmouth station, a junction on the Newcastle - Berwick main line. In 1995 a preservation society was formed intending to reopen the entire branch. At present the line runs from Alnwick Lionheart Station on the outskirts of the town alongside the A1 road. It runs about half way to Alnmouth to a temporary station and passing loop built at a point called Greenrigg Halt. The intent is to extend to Alnmouth, and there is no obstruction to doing so, although an agreement will be necessary with Network Rail to gain access into Alnmouth station. The railway has a number of small industrial locomotives which are used to haul passenger trains generally at weekends. 

 

Key Facts (where and when)

Extent of Railway (where to where):

Alnwick Lionheart Station to Greenrigg Halt

Principal Visitor Centre:

Alnwick Lionheart Station (NE66 2HT)

Period of Operation*

- April to September (Weekends)

- July and August (Also Wednesdays)

- Late October and December (Special event trains)

 

[* This is a summary. Please go to the railway’s website for definitive operating days] 

 

Key Facts (what you’ll see)

Services usually steam or diesel?

Steam

Type of Steam / Diesel Locomotives Used:

Small industrial steam locomotives, and Pacer DMUs

Length of Line:

1.5 miles

Time taken for a round trip:

40 minutes

Number of trains per day:

4 in each direction

Number of Stations:

2 stations

Prices:

Adult: £9. Child: £4

Time to allow for Visit:

1 hour

Museum:

No

Shop/Cafe:

Cafe

Picnic/Play areas:

Yes

Preservation Established:

1995

Car Park Facilities:

Car parking is free at Alnwick Lionheart Station

 

Key Facts (Galas/Events/Dining)

Dining Trains:

- No (refreshments available at the Buffet Stop Café)                 

 

Event Trains:

- Santa Specials: December

- Mince Pie Specials: Post Xmas December

 

Principal Galas:

- Easter Steam Weekend: April

 

Experiences:

- Winter Talks (on railway themes, held September to December in ‘The Old Waiting Room’ of Barter Books)

 

Contacts

Email:                                                                     Use Contact Box on website

Telephone:                                                           -

Website:                                                                www.alnvalleyrailway.co.uk

Social Media:                                                        www.facebook.com/AlnValleyRailway

                                                                                Also on Twitter and Instagram

 

INFORMATION FOR THE ENTHUSIAST


Brief History of the Railway and its Preservation  

In 1847 the Newcastle to Berwick railway opened, passing 3 miles to the east of the Northumberland County Town of Alnwick. A branch from the main line at Alnmouth to Alnwick was envisaged at the outset, opening in 1850. In 1881 Parliamentary approval was given for an extension of the Alnwick branch from there to Wooler and Coldstream, where it connected with the North British line from Berwick (Tweedmouth) to Kelso and the Edinburgh - Carlisle ‘Waverley’ line at St. Boswells. The line opened in 1887. The extension travelled through sparse countryside and was closed to passengers as early as 1930, and for freight from Alnwick in 1953. By the 1950s the short Alnwick - Alnmouth stretch was also seeing diminishing passenger numbers, and despite considerable local opposition, both passenger and freight services were withdrawn in 1968. At the time, the A1 Alnwick by-pass, which crossed the railway, was in the advanced stages of planning and the closure of the branch took away the need for construction of an expensive bridge. In 1995 a preservation society was formed campaigning for the restoration of train services between Alnmouth and Alnwick, however it could not fund the expense of constructing a new bridge over the A1 by pass. Preservation plans continued however in 2002 the Northumberland County Council determined to turn the track bed into a footpath. This resulted in a public enquiry, and eventually the footpath plan was overturned in 2007. Finally, the preservation society were free to develop the line. In 2010 it obtained permission to build a new station at Alnwick just east of the A1 by-pass, and by 2013 had successfully run its first trains. 

 

Principal Aspiration

To extend the line to Alnmouth to connect with national rail services.

 

Steam Operational Locomotives:

(1) Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0 - No. 9 ‘Richboro’

(2) Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0 - No. 60

(3) Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0 - No. 20 ‘Jennifer’

 

Diesel Operational Locomotives/DMU:

(1) Drewry 0-6-0DM - No. 8199 ‘Drax’

(2) Andrew Barclay shunter - No. 615

(3) Pacer Class 144 - Unit 144004 (55804 and 55827)

(4) Pacer Class 144 - Unit 144016 (5816, 55852 and 55839)

 

Diesel Locomotives Under Overhaul:

- BR Class 11 shunter - No. 12088 ‘Shirley’

 

Stored/ Under Restoration/ Out of Service:

- Hawthorn Leslie 0-4-0 - No. 3799 Penicuik

- Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0 - No. 48

- Ruston and Hornsby 0-4-0 - No. S518256

- Ruston and Hornsby 0-4-0 - No. L2 (on display)

 

INFORMATION ON THE SUPPORT GROUP


Name of Support Group:

Aln Valley Railway Trust

Annual membership fee:

Adult: £17. Junior: £9. Family: £27. Life: £550

 

Benefits of membership:                                  

-          Discounted tickets

-          Become a working volunteer

-          Quarterly Magazine, ‘The Link’

 

How to Join:                                                          Go to www.alnvalleyrailway.co.uk/support-us/trust-membership

 

What They Say About Volunteering:

The Aln Valley Railway is built, operated and run entirely by volunteers. Whatever your abilities and experience, no matter whether you can spare just one day or can volunteer on a regular basis, your railway needs you. Requirements range from administrative staff to hosts, guards and even train drivers.  People with building, track laying, gardening and engineering experience and those simply willing to “pitch in” where needed are also welcome.

 

How to Volunteer:                                               Go to www.alnvalleyrailway.co.uk/support-us/volunteering

 

How to Donate:                                                    Go to www.alnvalleyrailway.co.uk/donate

 

WHY JOIN:                                                             Help the railway extend to Alnmouth.

 

INFORMATION ON OTHER SOCIETIES WITH RELATED INTEREST


Those interested in this railway may also be interested in the following railway societies also listed on this

website:

 

Traditional Railway Societies:

- North Eastern Railway Association

- LNER Society

- RCTS (Newcastle branch)

- Stephenson Locomotive Society (North East Centre)

 

Model Railway Clubs:

- Alnwick Model Railway Club


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