Slaggyford back on line!

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.

Thomas Green 0-6-2ST Barber leads the first train into Slaggyford to the sound of a pipe band. DAVE HEWITT

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.

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.

After crossing Lintley viaduct, the train heads for Lintley station formerly the end of the line before the opening of the extension. DAVE HEWITT

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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