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Weardale Railway

INFORMATION FOR THE VISITOR

RCD’s Overview

The Weardale Railway runs alongside the River Wear through part of the attractive and remote Weardale. The line has historic connections, being closely linked to that of the Stockton and Darlington Railway (which promoted and later owned the line) which opened in 1825 from the Shildon area, just 4 miles from Bishop Auckland station from where the Weardale Railway commenced. The line was built primarily for freight purposes, although passenger services were run until ended in 1953. Freight operations ran as far as Eastgate until 1993, giving preservationists an opportunity to save the line. After various preservation attempts, in 2020 the line was bought by The Auckland Project (a regeneration charity) with the intent of re-opening the line as a heritage railway providing services between Stanhope and Bishop Auckland. Currently the only section open is between Stanhope and Wolsingham, however active steps are being undertaken to re-open the Wolsingham to Bishop Auckland section.

 

Key Facts (where and when)

Extent of Railway (where to where):

Stanhope to Wolsingham

Principal Visitor Centre:

Stanhope Station (DL13 2YS)

Period of Operation*

- May to October (Saturdays)

- August and September (Also Wednesdays)

 [* 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?

Diesel

Type of Steam / Diesel Locomotives Used:

Heritage diesel multiple unit, and occasional diesel locomotive

Length of Line:

Operational 6 miles (18 miles owned in total)

Time taken for a round trip:

1 hour

Number of trains per day:

3 in each direction

Number of Stations:

6 stations (4 currently open)

Prices:

Adult: £10. Concession: £8. Child: £6. Family: £26

Time to allow for Visit:

1 hour

Museum:

No

Shop/Cafe:

Yes/Yes

Picnic/Play areas:

No

Preservation Established:

1993

Car Park Facilities:

Car parking at Stanhope and Wolsingham

 

Key Facts (Galas/Events/Dining)

Dining Trains:

- No (café at Stanhope station)                                                                                             

Event Trains:

- Christmas Trains: December                                                                               

Principal Galas:

- None currently advertised

 

Contacts

Email:                                                                     info@weardale-railway.org.uk

Telephone:                                                           07719 757755

Website:                                                                www.weardale-railway.org.uk

Social Media:                                                        www.facebook.com/WeardaleRailwayHeritageServices

                                                                                Also on Twitter


INFORMATION FOR THE ENTHUSIAST

Brief History of the Railway and its Preservation  

The history of the Weardale Railway is closely linked to that of the Stockton and Darlington Railway. That railway could perhaps be better described as the Shildon, Darlington and Stockton Railway, as it linked coal mines in the Shildon area (4 miles from Bishop Auckland) to quays at Stockton. That railway famously opened in 1825. The Stockton and Darlington Railway quickly expanded both eastwards and west. It backed a nominally independent company to build an extension from Shildon to Bishop Auckland which opened in 1842. An extension to Witton and Frosterley was opened by 1847, and then to Stanhope in 1862 aiming to reach known limestone deposits. The line was finally extended to Wearhead in 1895. The Wearhead branch closed to passenger trains in 1953 however it remained open as a freight-only line from Bishop Auckland to Eastgate (between Stanhope and Wearhead) until 1993. The railway was then bought by a succession of entities intending to re-introduce a combination of freight and heritage services, which ultimately failed. In 2020 the line was bought by The Auckland Project (a regeneration charity aiming to drive investment in the Bishop Auckland area) with the intent of re-opening the line for heritage services between Bishop Auckland and Stanhope.

 

Principal Aspiration

To re-introduce services to Bishop Auckland

 

Steam Operational Locomotives:

- None at present

 

Diesel Operational Locomotives/DMU:

(1) BR Class 31 - 31285

(2) BR Class 31 - 31459

(3) BR Class 31 - 31465

(4) Heritage DMU Class 108 - Nos. 50980 and 52054

(5) Heritage DMU Class 122 Bubblecar - No. E55012

(6) Pacer DMU Class 144 - No. 144010

 

Steam Locomotives Under Overhaul:

- Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns 0-6-0T – ‘NCB. 40’

 

INFORMATION ON THE SUPPORT GROUP

Name of Support Group:

Weardale Railway Trust

Annual membership fee:

Adult: £18. Concession: £14. Junior: £10. Family: £40. Life: £350

 

Benefits of membership:                                  

-          50% discounted travel on the heritage service trains

-          Access to volunteering opportunities

-          Quarterly Magazine, 'Between the Lines'

 

How to Join:                                                  Go to www.weardale-railway.org.uk/membership

 

What They Say About Volunteering:

The Weardale Railway is mainly run by volunteers whose contribution is essential to the running of the railway and its long-term future. You can be part of this by becoming a working member in one of our many departments. Generally, you do not need specific experience as training will be provided in your chosen area. Some operational roles, such as driving require a significant time commitment, training and assessment, however others do not and there are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved.

 

How to Volunteer:                                               Go to www.weardale-railway.org.uk/volunteering

 

How to Donate:                                                    Email the railway for information on making donations.

 

WHY JOIN:  Help the railway reintroduce services between Wolsingham and Bishop Auckland.

           

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:

- Friends of the Stockton and Darlington Railway

- North Eastern Railway Society

- Industrial Railway Society

- RCTS (North East branch, Darlington)

 

Model Railway Clubs:

- Making Tracks Railway Society (Durham)

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