NEWS that Aln Valley Railway Trust’s historical rail link has taken a huge step forward is welcome indeed.
The plans to link Alnmouth to Alnwick have been in the pipeline for nearly 15 years with numerous setbacks causing delays and fears that it would never get off the ground.
But thanks to the hard work of a dedicated bunch at the Trust and their perseverance to see the project through to the bitter end, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.
The plans, first mooted in 1997, went through a number of trials and tribulations, including being unable to access the original Alnwick station because of construction of the A1 Alnwick bypass. In 2006, plans for a supermarket – now Lidl – were approved, meaning the only useable platform was lost at the former station site.
However, plans to develop land at Lloyd’s Field, opposite Lionheart Enterprise Park were granted permission in 2010, with a new station, operating base and visitor centre.
And the final piece of the jigsaw – the lease – has now been signed.
This attraction is likely to bring hundreds, if not thousands, into the town and will be a great fillip for tourism in the area. It will also add to development at that end of town, where a petrol station and hotel are already being worked on.
It will certainly be heart-warming to see that very first steam train running between the two locations. All the hours of work will have finally paid off.