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STR extension drive puts Santa trains on hold this year

Volunteers at Alston’s South Tynedale Railway are pushing ahead hard to open the railway’s Lintley extension next Easter.

Last year the most severe winter for decades set back building the new line and the routine track maintenance programme. The need to catch up with the work has resulted in the railway management deciding, very reluctantly, to cancel this year’s Santa Special trains in December.

The railway relies on its many keen volunteers for almost all its work. South Tynedale Railway Chairman, Norman Cook, explained

“We are committed to opening our new line next spring and we have had to plan how we can best use volunteers’ efforts. Our Santa trains are a very popular part of our programme but we felt that, this year, we would be unable to guarantee the high quality our customers know and expect of us. We aim to be back next Christmas wth new attractions and even better Santa trains than before. Next summer the longer train ride in the lovely South Tyne valley will be greater value than ever”.

About the South Tynedale Railway
The South Tynedale Railway Preservation Society has run and developed the railway since 1983. The railway follows the former route of British Rail’s Haltwhistle to Alston branch line. Opened in stages in 1851 and 1852, the line survived for over a century until its closure was announced in 1973 and carried out in 1976. Avoluntary society was formed to take over the entire route but its first efforts failed. However, a reformed group successfully opened the first stageof a narrow gauge railway in 1983. Since then the railway has grown and prospered.

The railway’s main development objective is opening to Slaggyford in Northumberland by 2015. Opening as far as Lintley next Easter marks the half-way stage in its extension drive.

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