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Wensleydale Railway


RCD’s Overview

This heritage railway runs along Wensleydale, one of the many attractive Yorkshire Dales. It operates on part of the former line that ran from Northallerton (on the London-Newcastle main line) to Garsdale (on the Settle-Carlisle Railway). The section of the line from Northallerton to Redmire remained open to freight traffic until 1992, and was then bought by the heritage railway on a long lease. It has operated the entire line at times, however the section between Scruton and Northallerton (investment needed in respect of a level crossing) and between Leyburn and Redmire (extensive repair of track and the formation needed) are presently closed but are likely to re-open in the future. Services currently run in two sections, the main section being the 13 mile stretch from Leeming Bar to Leyburn.

The support group is the 'Wensleydale Railway Association (Trust) Limited' (see 'Information on the Suport Group' below).


Happening This Month:

  • Go to 'Homepage' and click into 'Railway Club Calendar'

Key Facts (where and when)

Extent of Railway (where to where):

Leeming Bar to Leyburn (13 miles) and Leeming Bar to Scruton (2 miles)

Principal Visitor Centre:

Leeming Bar Station (DL7 9AR)

Period of Operation*

- March (Weekends)

- April and May (Weekends and Wednesdays)

- June to October (Weekends, Wednesdays and Fridays)

- August (Weekends, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays)

- November 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?

Diesel (steam on some special event services)

Type of Steam / Diesel Locomotives Used:

Pacers DMU, and occasional diesel locomotive

Length of Line:

Operational 15 miles (22 miles in total)

Time taken for a round trip:

2 hours

Number of trains per day:

Leeming Bar to Leyburn: 3 in each direction/ Leeming Bar to Scruton: Up to 8 in each direction

Number of Stations:

5 stations


Leeming Bar to Leyburn: Adult: £20. Senior: £18. Child: £1.

Time to allow for Visit:

2 to 3 hours





Picnic/Play areas:


Preservation Established:


Car Park Facilities:

Car parking available near to Leeming Bar and Leyburn station


Key Facts (Galas/Events/Dining)

Dining Trains:

- No (but tea rooms at Bedale and Leyburn stations)


Event Trains:

- Polar Express: From mid-November and December

- Mince Pie Specials: Post Xmas December


Principal Galas:

- None currently advertised



- ‘Step Back in Time’ education programme visit at Scruton Station




Telephone:                                                           01677 425805


Social Media:                                              

                                                                               Also on Twitter and Instagram



Brief History of the Railway and its Preservation

The railway operates on part of the former line that ran from Northallerton to Garsdale. It was opened over a period of time by various companies. The first attempt to build a line was authorised in 1846 and was to run from Northallerton to Bedale. Lacking adequate finance, the line was opened in 1848 only as far as Leeming Lane. The Bedale and Leyburn Railway, financed locally, was an 11-mile extension between Leeming Lane and Leyburn and opened in 1856. In 1866 the Midland Railway obtained Parliamentary authorisation to build the Settle - Carlisle main line, the Midland also receiving authorisation to build a branch off its main line at Garsdale to the village of Hawes. In 1870 the North Eastern Railway was authorised to build a line to complete the gap from Leyburn to Hawes. The whole network of lines was completed and opened by 1878. Throughout its life, freight was more important than its passenger traffic, and the whole route closed to passengers in 1954, save for a single daily passenger train on the short stretch from Hawes to Garsdale. However 22 miles of the line from Northallerton to Redmire remained open to transport limestone traffic to Teesside. This ended in 1992 although some freight trains continued in the form of Ministry of Defence military trains to Redmire, for further movement to Catterick Garrison. A preservation movement was established in 1990 and was in a position to acquire the line when freight services finally ceased. In 2003 it opened the station at Leyburn and by 2005 had extended both east and west operating heritage passenger services.


Principal Aspiration

To re-introduce services to Northallerton to connect with national rail services, and to re-introduce services to Redmire.


Steam Operational Locomotives:

- None at present. Steam locomotives visit from time to time.


Diesel Operational Locomotives/DMU:

(1) BR Class 03 shunter - 03144 (D2144)

(2) BR Class 14 - D5923

(3) BR Class 20 - 20166 (D8166)

(4) BR Class 33 - 33035

(5) BR Class 37 - 37250 (D6950)

(6) Heritage DMU Class 117 - No. 51400 and 59509

(7) Pacer DMUs Class 142 - 142018, 142028, 142041 and 142060


Steam Locomotive Under Overhaul:

- NER Class J72 - No. 69023 ‘Joem’.


Diesel Locomotive/ DMU Under Overhaul:

- Heritage DMU Class 101 – 50256 and 56343


Stored/ Under Restoration/ Out of Service:  

- BR Class 47 - No. 47785 ‘Fiona Castle’

- Heritage DMU Class 101 unit 51210, 53746 and 101678

- Heritage DMU Class 108 unit 51572 and 56274

- Heritage DMU Class 121 unit 121032 and 55032

- Heritage DMU Class 117 - DMBS 51353 (static centre)

- BREL Experimental Railbus - LEV 1 RDB975874

- Pacer Class 142 - No. 142078, 142087, 142090, 142094

- Pacer Class 144 - No. 144020



Name of Support Group:

Wensleydale Railway Association (Trust) Limited

Annual membership fee:

Adult: £22. Junior: £5. Family: £36. Life: £450


Benefits of membership:                                  

-          Discount (50%) on normal services

-          Discount (10%) at the railway shops and cafes

-          An annual free members’ train

-          Free travel for a dog or bicycle

-          Quarterly Magazine, ‘Relay’


How to Join:                                                          Go to


What They Say About Volunteering:

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Wensleydale Railway.  Without their efforts, there would be nothing for our thousands of visitors to ride on and see the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales. Our dedicated volunteers come from all walks of life with many different skills; some like to get their hands dirty and others do not; that is up to you. It is an exciting place to work with never a dull moment! Whether you are passionate about heritage; want to learn new skills; looking to make a difference and make new friends along the way, there is a rewarding role for you at the Railway. Volunteers can give anything from a few hours a month on an ad hoc basis up to a regular amount of time each week. Younger volunteers are very welcome too, but must be at least 18 years old.


How to Volunteer:                                               Go to


How to Donate:                                                    Go to


WHY JOIN:                                                           Help the railway re-introduce services to Northallerton and extend the line towards Redmire.



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



Traditional Railway Societies:

- North Eastern Railway Society

- RCTS (North East branch, Darlington)


Model Railway Clubs:

- Thirsk & District Model Railway Group

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