Columns all set for new lease of light at railway

The lamp standards ready to be unloaded at the Aln Valley Railway's Lionheart Station site in Alnwick.
The lamp standards ready to be unloaded at the Aln Valley Railway's Lionheart Station site in Alnwick.

A heritage railway has secured a set of Victorian cast-iron lighting columns, saving them from being scrapped.

As part of the £25million upgrade of street lighting to the new LED lanterns in Northumberland, Galliford Try and Power One, on behalf of Northumberland County Council, have been removing the older cast-iron columns.

Some of these have clearly seen two World Wars and even the conversion from gas to electricity. With all that history, the last thing anyone wanted to do was just scrap them. So, volunteers from the Aln Valley Railway (AVR) approached the county council to see if any spare columns would be available.

They were in luck. The first delivery of columns took place earlier this month and will be installed at AVR’s Lionheart Station in Alnwick.

A spokesman for Galliford Try said: “This worthwhile project will now have authentic street furniture to add to the already impressive station that will see the old columns lit once again and, in turn, preserve local heritage for future generations to enjoy.

“We are proud to have a zero-to-landfill policy and by donating these columns to upcycle it ensures that we continue to follow this target.”

Part of the permissive footpath along the old railway trackbed will be closed for the next few weeks as engineering works will be taking place to extend the railway from the Lionheart Station site in Alnwick.

The portion of the trackbed that will be closed is between the A1 boundary fence and the junction of Green Lane with the old trackbed. There is a route that can be taken by walkers to bypass the works using Green Lane and the footpath along the top of the A1 embankment.

No finish date has been announced, as it depends on things like the weather.