|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2011)|
|Original gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Operated by||Wensleydale Railway plc|
|Length||22 miles (35 km)|
|Preserved gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Opened||between 1848 & 1878|
|Closed||1954 (passengers) and 1992 (all traffic)|
The Wensleydale Railway is a heritage railway in Wensleydale and Lower Swaledale in North Yorkshire, England. The line runs 22 miles (35 km) between Northallerton on the East Coast Main Line and Redmire.
Occasional freight services and excursions travel the full length of the line, however regular passenger services only operate between Leeming Bar and Redmire, a distance of 17.5 miles (28 km). The line formerly ran from Northallerton to Garsdale on the Settle-Carlisle Railway but the track between Redmire and Garsdale has been lifted and several bridges and viaducts demolished.
There are plans to provide regular services between Leeming Bar and Northallerton and to re-open the section between Redmire and Garsdale.
On 26 June 1846, an Act of Parliament authorised the Great North of England Railway and its successor the York, Newcastle and Berwick Railway to build a line between Northallerton and Bedale. The 5 1⁄2-mile (8.9 km) section between Northallerton and Leeming Lane opened on 6 March 1848. The section between Leeming Bar and Bedale that was authorised by the act was not built.
The Bedale and Leyburn Railway, financed by local landowners, was a 11 1⁄2-mile (18.5 km) extension between Leeming Bar and Leyburn that was authorised on 4 August 1853; the section between Leeming Bar and Bedale station opened on 1 February 1855 and the remainder on 28 November 1855 for goods and minerals and 19 May 1956 for passengers. The York, Newcastle and Berwick had became a founder member of the North Eastern Railway (NER) on 31 July 1854, and the Bedale and Leyburn was absorbed into this larger company in 1859.
The Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle Junction Railway had been proposed in the mid-1840s railway mania to link Settle, Hawes and Askrigg, and in 1846 the Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne Junction Railway was given permission for a main line from Elslack, on the Leeds and Bradford Railway, to Scorton on the Richmond branch of the Great North of England Railway, and a branch line to Hawes, but this scheme failed.
In the late 1860s, several competing railways proposed to serve the agricultural land around Hawes. Eventually, an Act of Parliament raised by the Midland Railway that mostly related to the Settle and Carlisle line but included a branch off this line between Garsdale and Hawes was authorised on 16 July 1866. And another Act of Parliament raised by the North Eastern Railway for a railway between Leyburn and Hawes was authorised on 4 July 1870. The section of this railway between Leyburn and Askrigg opened on 1 February 1877; the section between Askrigg and Hawes was opened for goods on 1 June 1878; the Hawes branch of the Settle and Carlisle line was opened for goods on 1 August 1878; the sections between Askrigg and Hawes and between Hawes and Garsdale were both opened for passengers on 1 October 1878.
At this point, there was a through route between Northallerton and Garsdale.
The line remained a single track branch line transporting milk and stone; the passenger service over the full length of the line finished on 26 April 1954. One passenger train each way was operated between Garsdale and Hawes until 14 March 1959 at which point this part of the line closed to all traffic. On 27 April 1964, the line between Redmire and Hawes closed completely. The track west of Redmire was lifted and many bridges on this section of the line were demolished in 1965. With the exception of goods trains serving the quarry near Redmire until 1992, freight traffic on the line ceased in 1982.
Some excursion tours ran to Redmire in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s.
The Wensleydale Railway Association (WRA) was formed in 1990 with the main aim of restoring passenger services. When British Rail decided to try to sell the line between Northallerton and Redmire following cessation of the quarry trains to Redmire, the WRA decided to take a more proactive role and aimed to operate passenger services itself. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) had an interest in using the line between Northallerton and Redmire to transport armoured vehicles to/from Catterick Garrison. The MoD paid for repairs and restoration of the line and the installation of loading facilities at Redmire, and did not object to WRC taking over the line. A trial train ran in November 1993 and full MoD operations started in July 1996. These military transport trains continue to this day.
In 2000 WRA formed a separate operating company, the Wensleydale Railway plc (WRC), and issued a share offer to raise funds. £1.2 million was raised through this method. Railtrack agreed to lease the line between Northallerton and Redmire to WRC and a 99-year lease was signed in 2003. Passenger services restarted on 4 July 2003 with the stations at Leeming Bar and Leyburn being reopened. In 2004 the stations at Bedale, Finghall and Redmire were also reopened. It is planned in 2014 to open a station at Scruton and a temporary station Northallerton West.
List of stations and halts
- Northallerton West: planned to open in 2014, (temporary station adjacent to mainline station), and eastern terminus of the line allowing interchange with rail services on the nearby East Coast Main Line
- Ainderby: closed
- Scruton: being restored to use and expected to re-open in 2014
- Leeming Bar: eastern terminus of the line until Northallerton West station re-opens
- Bedale: restored to use
- Crakehall: closed
- Jervaulx: closed
- Finghall: restored to use; request stop
- Spennithorne: closed
- Constable Burton: closed and demolished
- Leyburn: restored to use
- Wensley: closed
- Redmire: restored to use and current western terminus of the line.
- Castle Bolton: proposed new halt serving the nearby Bolton Castle
- Aysgarth: serving nearby Aysgarth Falls; the site has been restored and the station building is (as of September 2013) a holiday cottage
- Askrigg: requires huge restoration
- Bainbridge: proposed new halt
- Hawes: part of the Dales Countryside Museum
- Mossdale: proposed new halt located between the tunnel of the same name and Garsdale railway station
- Garsdale: future planned western terminus of the line allowing interchange with rail services on the Settle-Carlisle Line.
The Wensleydale Railway plc is responsible for the operation, maintenance and development of the railway line and passenger services. The company has a mixture of employed and volunteer staff.
The Wensleydale Railway Association Ltd is a membership organisation that supports the development of the railway through fundraising and volunteer working.
The Wensleydale Railway Trust is a charity that provides training and supports work on heritage structures.
The WR aims to provide public transport in Wensleydale as well as being a visitor attraction.
Plans and expansions
In 2014 the Wensleydale Railway's plan is to extend passenger train services eastwards from Leeming Bar via Scruton and Ainderby to Northallerton West (adjacent to the nearby mainline station) to provide interchange with the National Rail network on the East Coast Main Line.
The Wensleydale Railway's longer term aim is to reopen the line west from Redmire via Castle Bolton, Aysgarth, Askrigg, Bainbridge, Hawes and Cotterdale to join up with the Settle-Carlisle Railway Route at Garsdale.
|Number & Name||Description||History & Current Status||Livery||Owner(s)||Date||Photograph|
|No. D2144 (03144) Western Waggoner||Class 03||Operational.||Rail blue||MoD.||1960|
|No. 37250||Class 37||Operational.||Transrail.||Private Owner.||1964|
|No. 25313||Class 25||Under Repair.||BR Rail Blue.||Privately Owned.||1964|
|No. 20166 (D8166) River Fowey||Class 20||Operational.||BR Green.||Harry Needle Railroad Company||1966|
|No. 20121||Class 20||Operational||BR Blue||HNRC||~|
|No. 47715 Poseidon||Class 47||Operational.||FM Rail.||Wensleydale Diesel Traction Group.||1966|
|No. 47703 Saint Mungo||Class 47||Under Repair.||FM Rail.||Harry Needle Railroad Company||1967|
|No. D9516||Class 14||Operational.||BR Green.||Private Owner||1964|
- Diesel multiple units
- Electrical multiple units
- Jenkins 1993, pp. 8–9.
- Tomlinson 1915, pp. 492–493.
- Hoole 1974, p. 110.
- Jenkins 1993, p. 9.
- Jenkins 1993, pp. 22–23.
- Tomlinson 1915, pp. 522, 555.
- Butt 1995, pp. 30, 142.
- Tomlinson 1915, pp. 525–526.
- Tomlinson 1915, p. 778.
- Tomlinson 1915, p. 468.
- "Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle-upon-Tyne Junction Railway". London Gazette. 12 May 1846.
- Tomlinson 1915, p. 480.
- Tomlinson 1915, p. 616.
- Tomlinson 1915, p. 618.
- Jenkins 1993, pp. 29–30.
- Jenkins 1993, p. 31.
- Butt 1995, p. 116.
- Tomlinson 1915, pp. 682–683.
- Jenkins 1993, pp. 35–36.
- Hoole 1974, pp. 110–111.
- Jenkins 1993, p. 171.
- Jenkins 1993, p. 174.
- Hallas 2002, p. 83.
- Jenkins 1993, p. 179.
- Jenkins 1993, pp. 177–179.
- Hallas 2002, p. 89.
- "Wensleydale Railway » About us". Wensleydalerail.com. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
- Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-85260-508-1.
- Hallas, Christine (2002). The Wensleydale Railway. The Amadeus Press Limited. ISBN 0-9539740-7-3.
- Hoole, K. (1974). A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain: Volume IV The North East. David & Charles. ISBN 0715364391.
- Jenkins, Stanley C. (1993). The Wensleydale Branch. Alpha Print (Oxon) Ltd. ISBN 0 85361 437 7.
- Tomlinson, William Weaver (1915). The North Eastern Railway: Its rise and development. Andrew Reid and Company. OCLC 504251788.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wensleydale Railway.|
- Wensleydale Railway Association website
- Wensleydale Railway plc website
- Wensleydale Diesel Traction Group website