2’ gauge on the former Alston branch
South Tynedale
24 July 2008
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Eight years ago, returning from a trip to Edinburgh, I looked in on the South Tynedale Railway, an interesting little 2' gauge line constructed on the trackbed of the former NER branch line. I made a mental note to revisit. The standard gauge line, closed as recently as 1976, linked the market town ("highest in England") with the Newcastle - Carlisle line at Haltwhistle, some 11 miles or so distant in an area with poor direct road links. Work on the narrow gauge railway began soon after closure, with the result that, in 1983, the first short stretch reopened (the 25th anniversary steam gala will be taking place as I write...). Further extensions took the line to its present northern terminus at Kirkhaugh, some 2¼ miles from Alston, and plans are in hand for a further 2¼ mile extension to Slaggyford. The line is host to numerous locomotives, including three fine steam locomotives in working order - "Helen Kathryn", the little Henschel which was in use on the occasion of my earlier visit, "Naklo", a rather interesting Polish 0-6-0 tender locomotive, and "Thomas Edmondson" (inventor of the board...), another Henschel 0-4-0T dating from 1918.
Mr Edmondson was being prepared for his next run down the line when we arrived, and, tickets obtained, we joined the train for a very pleasant unhurried run down the South Tyne valley. There's plenty of time at Kirkhaugh to observe the run-round (there's northing else to do there anyway*) before rejoining the train for the run (slightly more energetic) back to Alston. A most enjoyable little interlude - a great little railway, which is well worth a visit, and will be even more so when the extension is in place. Links: A Scottish Trip (Previous visit, Aug. 00) South Tynedale Railway
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
Preparations at Alston Oiling up at Alston Pause for thought, Alston Kirkhaugh run-round Kirkhaugh Rural charm at Kirkhaugh Signals at Alston Reminder of the past, Alston Naklo The next train from platform 1...