Club Walk No 11, Aln Valley Railway, Alnwick - Sunday 2nd August 2015.

    

On Sunday 2nd August 2015, Morpeth Camera Club made their first visit to the Aln Valley Railway, near
Alnwick. This standard gauge railway intends to re-build and re-open the branch line from Alnwick to Alnmouth
as a heritage steam railway attraction. Most tourist railways have existing buildings and infrastructure but since
the line was closed in 1968, new developments in the town and the building of the Alnwick bypass have meant
that the original station buildings were unable to be used. This has made the task even harder but has resulted
in a brand new railway station and visitor centre being constructed between the A1 trunk road and the Lionheart
Enterprise Park on the outskirts of the town. From this location the railway will connect with the original trackbed
where steam and diesel locomotives will haul trains of up to four coaches in length along the three mile route to
Alnmouth.



On arrival, a fine sunny afternoon saw members meet in the car park next to a Ruston & Hornsby 165DE 0-4-0
diesel locomotive. This is a static exhibit at the moment as it awaits restoration after spending most of its working
life at the Castle Cement works in Middlesbrough. The Lionheart Station area comprises of platforms One and Two,
complete with newly erected waiting rooms, linked by a replica North Eastern Railway footbridge, several hundred
yards of double track and single track sidings, a signal box and a watering crane. The engine shed houses rolling
stock and visitors can see "Penicuik" an 0-4-0 saddle tank locomotive built by Hawthorn Leslie, ex British Railways
Mark 1 SK second class corridor/compartment coach and a ballast brake van, all in various stages of restoration.
Our visit coincided with a diesel day and three engines were photographed working around the station. Other rolling
stock of interest was an ex British Railways levelling, tamping and lining Plasser & Theurer track machine and a
beautiful British Rail Mark 1 brake second corridor coach painted maroon and cream with British Rail lion crests.
On site attractions include a small railway museum of local artefacts and photographs, a shop, model railway and
the "Buffet Stop Cafe" where members enjoyed refreshments before concluding our visit.
                                                                                                                                         Davy Bolam.