An iconic heritage railway development could be completed in 2019 – more than 20 years after the idea was first proposed .
Martin Robinson, chairman of the Aln Valley Railway Society, has indicated that long-standing dreams of reopening the Alnmouth-to-Alnwick branchline may be realised before the turn of the decade.
The announcement is revealed in a ‘current, tentative programme’ published in the Society’s Autumn/Winter edition of The Link magazine.
Roger Jermy, the railway’s press officer, said it was exciting but admitted the dates weren’t set in stone, as issues such as funding and the weather could affect progress.
He said: “These dates provide reasonable targets which we can work towards. It is not pie in the sky but we are also realistic that there are so many variables, so we can’t say for definite.”
The ‘tentative’ programme sets out the anticipated schedule of work, culminating in a ‘fully-functioning’ railway in 2019.
The plan is for:
○ 2013: Track laid at Lionheart site, Alnwick, and construction of platforms.
○ 2014: Construction of new embankment, signal box and track about half-a-mile from Lionheart terminus.
○ 2015: Repair and restoration of Cawledge viaduct. Track to Greenrigg Bridge.
○ 2016: Track to Alnmouth Station. Construct second shed at Lionheart and phase one of Lionheart Station building.
○ 2017: Construction of new terminus at Alnmouth Station. Including run-round loop, small shed, parking and visitor facilities.
○ 2018: Completion of Lionheart Station building.
○ 2019: Formation of operating company to run fully-functioning Aln Valley Railway.
The reopening of the line was first proposed in 1997, and after a number of false starts work started in spring 2012.
Progress has steamed ahead at the Alnwick site since then.
For more details or to support the railway, visit www.al nvalleyrailway.co.uk.