South Tynedale Railway
Location : Alston – Grid Ref : NY 717467
England’s highest narrow gauge railway
The Railway Station, Alston, CA9 3JB. Email : [email protected]
General Enquiries – 01434 381696. Talking timetable – 01434 382828.
Preserved steam and diesel locomotives from Britain and overseas run between Alston Station (875 feet above sea level) and Kirkhaugh, following part of the old Haltwhistle to Alston branch line along the Tyne Valley in North East Cumbria and, recently, all the way to Slaggyford in Northumberland
Along the route there are fine views across the South Tyne valley, in the heart of the North Pennines Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty.
The Haltwhistle to Alston branch line, opened by the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway Company in 1852, was closed by British Rail in 1976. The Preservation Society was formed in 1973, and although unable to save the original standard gauge line, succeeded in opening a narrow gauge line along part of the old trackbed in 1983.
Built in the UK in 1940 for export to South Africa, this Hunslet steam loco of 0-4-2T type has a distinctive spark-arresting chimney and is rated at 90hp.
With the extension opened in 2012 to Lintley and the 2018 extension to Slaggyford the line is now 4.75 miles in length and runs between Alston in Cumbria and Slaggyford in Northumberland. This follows the extension of the original South Tynedale Railway from Gilderdale to Kirkhaugh in 1996. However, the Society would also like to continue the railhead northwards to the reinstatement of Gilderdale Halt to serve the picnic site on the South Tyne Trail.
Alston Station has had recent major renovation, including a new café and a covered roof.
The line is now 4.75 miles long. There are visions to extend further, possibly all the way to Haltwhistle.
Related Links :
- www.south-tynedale-railway.org.uk – official website