Aln Valley Railway news:

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Aln Valley Railway news:

Postby DMShell » 23 Feb 2012 19:26

On Wednesday 22nd February 2012 a major milestone in the revitalisation of the Aln Valley Railway between Alnmouth and Alnwick took place at Alnwick Castle, with the signing of the Lease between the Aln Valley Railway Trust and the Duke of Northumberland.

The lease will allow the first construction elements of the railway to begin almost immediately with a view to having some limited running of short trains by the end of summer this year. Hopefully visitors will be able to visit the site to see the construction progress.

AVR Trust Chairman Martin Robinson said:

"We are absolutely delighted to have reached this important milestone in the restoration of the railway. Everybody involved has worked tremendously hard to achieve this, but there is still a huge amount of work still to done, especially if we are to hit our target dates.
"Our first works contract has already let to a local Alnwick firm, and we will be going to tender on the second contract shortly thereby helping the local economy in these difficult times."

“However, we need more volunteers for everything! Now that we will be able to demonstrate progress on the ground tangibly we hope that as many people as possible will rally round to help get this fantastic project off the ground. All offers of help will be very welcome.

“The Aln Valley Railway is very conscious of its ability to add to the continuing well-being of Alnwick and North Northumberland, and we will do our utmost to contribute.

“I pay tribute and offer grateful thanks to the Northumberland Estates for their continuing help, and the Coast and Lowlands Leader project for grant-aid without which the project could not have progressed.”

Access to the original Alnwick station is no longer possible, as part of the trackbed was breached for the construction of the A1 Alnwick bypass, and a supermarket has been built on another part of the former line. Thus the Aln Valley Railway will be building a new station at a site known as “Lloyd’s Field’ close to the A1 and adjacent to both the original line and the Lionheart Enterprise Park. A curved track will link this station to the former alignment allowing trains to reach a terminus next to the East Coast main line at Alnmouth for Alnwick station. This, however, lies well in the future! Initial works will concentrate on the new operating base and station site, which will be called Alnwick (Lionheart).

Access to the station site will be via Ash Close on the Lionheart Enterprise Park to the south of Alnwick. Local contractors, Messrs. D. Purvis, will be starting on the necessary roadworks at once.

Meanwhile over the winter AVR members carried out vital remedial work on the former trackbed which has involved improvement to the drainage and the cutting back of vegetation. A special license was granted by the Northumberland Estates for this and for the digging of some test pits to determine the underlying ground conditions. The results facilitated the creation of an accurate bill of quantities for the main tender for levelling of the station site.

Work has continued at two other locations. At Wooler considerable progress has been made with the repair and refurbishment of rolling stock. The locomotive shed is at Wooler as a ‘kit of parts’ ready for erection at Lionheart, as is the water tower. Meanwhile at Longhoughton track panels are being assembled for transport to Lionheart as soon as vehicle access is possible. Some track panels, purchased from Network Rail, and other rail items donated by the National Railway Museum at York, will move north shortly.

The restoration of this railway line was first mooted in the mid-1990s. At long last the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are beginning to find their place! Hopefully, later this year, the Aln Valley Railway will start to run trains, albeit on a short length of track, and join the list of Britain’s Heritage Railways! In doing so it will also add to the attractions of the Alnwick area.

Potential volunteers or donors should contact the Aln Valley Railway’s Secretary, Mark Hayton, via secretary@alnvalleyrailway.co.uk or via the railway’s website at www.alnvalleyrailway.co.uk.
Dave Shell
MD Northumbria Rail / Owner of some stuff
Involved with various projects inc ALCo 801
DMShell
 
Posts: 663
Joined: 22 Jul 2007 11:44
Location: Bedlington, Northumberland

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