Cash boost put plans on right track

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PLANS to reinstate the Alnmouth to Alnwick railway line have received a huge boost after the project was awarded nearly £160,000 in grants and donations.

The Aln Valley Railway has received a LEADER grant of £129,000 and Northumberland Estates have donated £30,000 for the first year’s work with further donations to be provided annually.

An additional £300 has been received from the Procter & Gamble Charities Fund towards the development of the railway’s exhibition space.

Roger Jermy, press officer for the Aln Valley Railway, said: “We are absolutely delighted with all of the grants and particularly delighted due to the damage caused by the recent weather.”

Pending the completion of the lease for Lloyd’s Field and the original trackbed between the A1 and Alnmouth, the group has been granted a licence by Northumberland Estates which allows access for remedial work.

The recent snow and ice has created drainage problems on the trackbed in the vicinity of the Cawledge Viaduct.

Drains are being dug out and rodded to clear them so as to divert the flow of water away from the viaduct and, ultimately, into the Cawledge Burn.

Some new drains have been laid, though this procedure has been complicated by a large gas supply main which is laid beneath part of the trackbed. Some of the grant money will be used to meet these significant expenses.

AAlnwick firm KW Purvis has donated a large quantity of gravel to the railway for use in these repairs.

Regular working parties are also cutting back the branches and shrubbery which have encroached upon the trackbed, starting at Greenrigg, the half-way point of the line, and working towards Alnwick.

Meanwhile discussions are continuing regarding the creation of road access to the Lionheart station site at Lloyd’s Field close to the A1. This will require a new link from the existing Lionheart Enterprise Park.