The South Tynedale Railway
The Railway Today
In the North of England the Cumbrian countryside boasts a blend of rugged
hills, high moorland and secluded valleys making it an attractive area for
tourists, although, mercifully, it is not as overcrowded as some of the tourist
honey pots of Britain. In the midst of this natural splendour lies the south
Tynedale railway a 2' gauge railway of fairly recent origin and 2 and a half
miles or so in length.
The main station at Alston boasts a shop and tourist information centre while a
cafe and model railway exhibition, independent of the railway, are also on
site. The railway runs through the beautiful Cumbria countryside via Gilderdale Halt
to Kirkhaugh which is a secluded spot with no road access although it is the starting
point for many interesting walks.
The railway sports a small but interesting collection of steam with two German
locomotives as well as a fascinating example of Polish roigin, rebuilt in the UK to
produce a very good looking machine. Two Hunslet built locomotives
are more recent in construction than the usual quarry saddle tank Hunsletts
found on British narrow gauge railways and are unusual and interesting because of
Passenger stock is all built to the railways own designs with a blend of
coaches built on site and others whose construction was undertaken by a local
History and Origins
In 1973 BR were about to close the Alston to Haltwhistle branch of the
Newcastle to Carlisle railway. A group of local people formed The South
Tynedale Railway Preservation Society with a view to buying the line and
operating it in preservation. Regrettably the attempt was unsuccessful and BR
closed the line and immediately lifted the track in 1976. In 1977 The
preservation society decided to build a narrow gauge railway on the site,
construction of which finally commenced in 1980, after three years hard work by
the volunteers a three quarter mile stretch to a temporary terminus was opened
In 1987 the railway was extended to Gilderdale halt giving one and
a half miles of passenger running. Subsequent extension to Kirkhaugh brought the
line to the state we see it today with two and a quarter miles of useful running.
The society has no intention to rest on its laurels as plans are afoot to extend
to Lintley and then Slaggyford giving a five mile
run, then, possibly, even further.
Comments on this Railway
Add your comment on this railway.
John 27 Aug 2012
This line has great potential as a tourist attraction and could open up some of the north's as yet untapped scenic resources.
K. Thompson 27 Jul 2012
I would just like to say what a friendly and well run railway this is.
The scenery along the line is breathtaking and this railway is well worth a visit.