All aboard for railway after official opening

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A heritage railway, which is more than 15 years in the making, was officially opened yesterday.

The Duke of Northumberland did the honours at the Aln Valley Railway’s Lionheart Station site in Alnwick.

Sir Alan Beith MP and the Duke Of Northumberland at the opening of Aln Valley Railway.

Sir Alan Beith MP and the Duke Of Northumberland at the opening of Aln Valley Railway.

The ambitious project is to reopen the branchline from Alnmouth to Alnwick in stages, with the aim of laying all of the rails by 2019.

Railway press officer Roger Jermy said: “I think there is a certain amount of relief among everyone that, in the last 20 months since we moved to the Alnwick site, we have managed to make significant progress to have an official opening.

“It is a landmark because there has been lots of years of planning and legal work, but we have got onto the site and we have a station building, sidings, steam and diesel locos and we are in the position where we can have proper trains running.”

Others to attend the ceremony included Sir Alan Beith MP and Barter Books’ Stuart Manley, who was the founder chairman of the railway.

Opening the railway at Alnwick, the Duke said: “To see this coming to fruition is a real thrill.”

The day also marked the start of the Let’s get to Alnmouth appeal, which will be raising money to help the railway team branch out from the station site and construct the line down into the former trackbed to Alnmouth.

This is expected to be an expensive part of the project.