All aboard! Weardale Railway reopens heritage services Saturday, 28 May 2022

Weardale Railway, Stanhope Station

Weardale Railway welcomed its first passengers as the much-loved heritage line reopened for service.

Mrs Sue Snowdon, H.M. Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham and Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham were among the first to enjoy the scenic return trip from Stanhope to Wolsingham.

They were joined by local people and visitors to the area who were all delighted to be part of a new chapter for Weardale Railway, which was purchased by The Auckland Project in March 2020 with a bold vision for its future growth and development.

David Maddan, Chief Executive of The Auckland Project, was also on board for the first service.

He said: “After two years of hard work by The Auckland Project and the Weardale Railway Trust, we are delighted to reopen the railway today and we look forward to welcoming visitors to enjoy the heritage railway experience.”

Since The Auckland Project took charge, an extensive programme of inspections, network assessments, maintenance and repairs to the infrastructure has been undertaken along the heritage line, together with improvements to the trains.

Richard Holden MP, said: “It’s fantastic to see the Weardale Heritage Line reopened. I’m determined to do all I can to see North West Durham thrive as a great place to live, learn, start a business and bring up a family.

“Today’s reopening of the Heritage line is a significant step in that direction.”

The reopening of the route between Stanhope and Wolsingham represents the first step to bringing the full route through to Bishop Auckland back into service.

Wayne Dixon, General Manager of Weardale Railway, said: “This has been such a landmark day for all the staff and volunteers and it was truly wonderful to see the train full of passengers and the railway really up and running again.

“Everyone at Weardale Railway is looking forward to a busy summer.”

The reopening timetable, which runs to July 2nd, offers three Saturday services leaving Stanhope at 11am, 1pm and 3pm, with the return trips leaving Wolsingham at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm.

An expanded summer timetable will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Tickets for passengers are available from Stanhope Station.

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