Weardale Railway Reopening Announcment
Weardale Railway’s reopening plans are on track to run passenger services before the year is out.
Since the railway was purchased by The Auckland Project in March 2020, an extensive programme of inspections, network assessments, maintenance and repairs to the infrastructure has been undertaken, together with improvements to the trains.
Hard work has been ongoing behind the scenes to safely bring the much-loved heritage line back into operation while ensuring the preservation of its long-term future.
And while there is still much work to be done, the team are confident that people will be welcomed back to enjoy travelling on the Weardale Railway in time for Christmas.
Operations Manager at Weardale Railway Ltd, Wayne Dixon, who took up his post earlier this year, said: “A final decision on when a new timetable can be restarted will be made in October, but we’re very hopeful we will be able to relaunch train services from the beginning of December.
“We know how much people are looking forward to the return of passenger services on the Weardale Railway and of course we can’t wait to start operating again.
“However, we hope people will also understand how important it is that this programme of infrastructure assessment and the repair and maintenance work which it dictates, is undertaken properly. It’s not something that can be rushed.”
The Auckland Project purchased Weardale Railway last spring, bringing it out of administration with a bold vision to transform the railway for its future growth and development.
The information gathering phase of a £2.1m bridges and infrastructure assessment along the entire line from Eastgate to Bishop Auckland, has recently been completed. Reports and recommendations are expected in the coming weeks.
Wayne said: “The safety of our volunteers, staff and passengers is our first priority. We need to make sure that every single bridge and every metre of track along the entirety of the line is in good order and we look forward to receiving the assessment reports so that any required works can get underway.”
As well as the busy schedule of maintenance and repair works over the next few months, the re-training of volunteers, managed by the Weardale Railway Trust, will also continue at pace.
Wayne added: “We are incredibly grateful to Weardale Railway Trust volunteers who never fail in their dedication. We know they are just as keen to get trains running again and look forward to seeing them back on board.”