A massive improvement scheme at Leyburn station is to go ahead thanks to a £72,050 grant from the district council.
It will see the installation of a viewing platform and footbridge and a signalbox with period signaling – both of which have recovered from other stations.
Richmondshire District Council has awarded a grant from its economic growth fund to the £100,000 Wensleydale Railway scheme which also includes water towers and cranes to service the steam locomotives – and a passing loop system to allow engines to run around trains.
“This is a very exciting scheme for the district and one that we are delighted to be able to help make happen,” said Council Leader, Coun Yvonne Peacock.
“It will create an attraction for visitors – and railway enthusiasts – and allow for more frequent services to be run, including park and ride shuttle trains from Redmire to Leyburn to support of local events. This is exactly the type of scheme we are looking to support through our growth fund – it will bring in more visitors – and therefore – more revenue to the district.”
Following the withdrawal of passenger services by British Railways in 1954 most of the infrastructure – including the footbridge, signal boxes and platforms – was removed from Leyburn. Wensleydale Railway installed a single passenger platform when it began to operate passenger trains again in 2003 but run around facilities could not be afforded then.
Initial work has already begun on the scheme – which should be completed for next year’s season. With the support of Network Rail the footbridge has been recovered from Brigg Station in Lincolnshire and will be fully restored and installed along with a signalbox donated to the Wensleydale Railway by supporters of the Furness Railway.
That was formerly known as the “Vickers Machine Gun Siding Signal Box” and controlled a siding where Vickers tested its guns. Traditional semaphore signals will be used to control the movement of trains. The track work and signals will be completed by volunteers while local contractors will restore and install the bridge, signal box, water tower and platform.
Wensleydale Railway project manager David Walker said: “Schemes of this size on the national network can cost many millions. Through the efforts of our volunteers and supporters we are able to deliver the scheme at a fraction of that.
“The bridge, signal box, water tower and signalling equipment were all gifted to the Railway and much of the work will be completed by our volunteers giving their time freely.”