Bank Holiday Monday and the sun is shining – now there’s a surprise. Not wishing to pass up such good fortune, I cranked up the old jalopy and headed for the hills in search of steam – the gricing equivalent of a paddle in the briny and a bag of whelks. The ‘heading for the hills’ was literal as well as metaphorical – Alston is, reputedly, the highest market town in England and where this photograph was taken.
Alston was the end point of a branch line which ran from Haltwhistle, on the Newcastle & Carlisle Railway, later the North Eastern Railway – it was closed, cut by cut, between 1965, when goods traffic ceased, and May 1976 when passenger services were withdrawn. 5,000 travelled during the final day of operation and the last train departed to the sound of pipers playing a lament and the noise of exploding detonators.
Today, the South Tynedale Railway, operate a 2′ gauge railway, on a section of the old standard gauge trackbed, between Alston and Lintley. The locomotive, ‘Barber’, was formerly in service with the Harrogate Gas Works Co. – Mr. Barber was the Chairman. Built in Leeds, by Thomas Green & Co., in 1908, Barber is on loan from Leeds Industrial Museum.
I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it:
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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