MORE than four decades after it closed to passengers, a train has run into Slaggyford station on Cumbria’s Alston branch again.
The 2ft gauge South Tynedale Railway celebrated the accomplishment of a major goal on the morning of Monday, July 24, when it opened its 11/4–mile northern extension from Lintley.
The extension was opened by musician Kathryn Tickell OBE in her capacity as a deputy lieutenant of Northumberland, and is now being seen as a precursor to a proposed £30 million extension of the line back to Haltwhistle.
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Although there is still trackwork at Slaggyford to complete, including a run-round loop and sidings, she toured the station facilities including a restored wooden building at a private ceremony attended by specially-invited guests.
The station building has been repainted in its original Newcastle & Carlisle Railway livery, and its platform has been reinstated. A toilet block with solar panels has been built along with a replica signalbox.
The opening train was hauled in top-and-tail mode by Thomas Green 0-6-2ST No. 441 of 1908 Barber and Peckett 0-6-0ST No. 2050 of 1944 Harrogate and was greeted by a pipe band on its arrival at Slaggyford.
It was Slaggyford’s first passenger train since BR closed the 13-mile then standard gauge branch from Haltwhistle on May 1, 1976, when 5000 people rode on the last train – and its first steam-hauled service since a special travelled the line 50 years ago in 1967.
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