We report on the Aln Valley Railway’s 10th anniversary celebrations, which took place at Alnwick Lionhart Station, in Northumberland.
Northumberland’s Aln Valley Railway marked 10 years in operation at Alnwick’s Lionheart Station by operating steam trains at Easter. Trains ran over the current one-an-a-half-miles of track towards Alnmouth, which the project aims to reach to allow interchange with the East Coast Mainline, and to restore Alnwick’s branch which was axed by Dr Beeching.
The heading train was Austerity 0-6-0 saddle-tank number 60, HE3686 of 1948 which, after a working lifetime on colliery railways, came to Lionheart in 2018 and has since been restored. It joins the railway’s other operating steam locomotive, Richboro, a 1917-built Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0t, which has been the main steam workhorse of the line.
Other rolling stock includes a ‘Pacer’ unit, several industrial diesel shunters, assorted carriages and historic wagons. The line’s terminus and headquarters at Alnwick Lionheart Station is remarkable as it had to be built on a greenfield site from scratch as access to the original Alnwick Station, now home to Barter Books, was blocked by a supermarket occupying part of the trackbed.
AVR chairman Michael Proctor said: “We are very proud of all that we’ve achieved over our first decade. The year is a very significant anniversary for us and we are pressing on towards Alnmouth to restore a direct rail service between Alnwick and Alnmouth. We have a variety of events and open days throughout the 2022 season, so please pay us a visit if you’re in the area. You won’t be disappointed.”
Full details of operating days, special events and appeals are at: alnvalleyrailway.co.uk
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