Historic moment for heritage railway

Diesel loco with guards vans at Lionheart.
Diesel loco with guards vans at Lionheart.

A heritage railway development reaches a huge milestone later this month when trains will be up and running for the first time.

The Aln Valley Railway is hosting a series of special events over the Easter weekend at its Alnwick site and visitors will be treated to short journeys.

Passenger carrying vehicle recently name Buzz

Passenger carrying vehicle recently name Buzz

It will be the first time that trains carrying passengers have run in the town since the 1960s.

The historic moment has been nearly two decades in the making for those behind the project.

Roger Jermy, from the railway, said: “We are really pleased.

“When you think that the group was formed in 1995 to reopen the railway and now, 18 years later, we have got enough track to run some trains up and down. It’s a great feeling.”

The short train rides will be held at the town’s Lionheart site daily from Maundy Thursday to Easter Monday.

There will be locomotives and carriages on display and the site’s museum will contain various exhibitions of photographs and railway memorabilia.

Guided tours will be available at intervals throughout the weekend and refreshments, provided by The Pottergate Pantry, will be available in the cafe.

On Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, a vintage 1948 Leyland Tiger PS1 road coach will give rides around the area.

The Gambler, a country, folk and rockabilly singer/songwriter from Berwick, will be performing on the Friday.

On Saturday, March 30, there will be a display of classic vehicles, as well as an afternoon performance from the Alnwick Concert Band, who will arrive in a vintage bus provided by Dreadnought Coaches.

On Easter Sunday, children under seven can take part in an Easter Bunny Hunt.

A car boot sale will be held at the Lionheart site on Easter Monday from 10am to 3pm.

Admission is £1 for adults. Pitches for vans will be charged at £13 and £10 for cars.

Free car parking is available at the site for visitors during the weekend. Admission is a £1 donation for adults, accompanied children are free.

A donation is also requested from train rides.

The weekend’s festivities mark the start of the railway’s 2013 season, which begins properly in May.

Work has steamed ahead at the Alnwick site over the last year. The eventual aim is to reopen the branch line between Alnmouth and Alnwick.

The railway has thanked everyone who has supported it.