A YEAR of bad weather has created a disastrous start to the new season for one of the region’s heritage railways.

A landslip on an embankment is causing disruption to Wensleydale Railway services which could continue for another month.

The very wet weather throughout 2012 is thought to have caused the failure of a previous repair done in British Railways days.

It has caused a slip on an embankment at Akebar, about a mile to the east of Finghall Lane station, which means that services will not be able to operate to Finghall, Leyburn and Redmire until a repair is completed.

The slip is in a particularly difficult location on a high embankment, and is expected to take four to five weeks to repair.

General manager Nigel Park said: ‘This is a severe blow to us at the start of the new season.

“It will affect our passengers and customers and reduce the number of visitors we can take up the Dale.”

However he added: “We will be operating from Leeming Bar to Bedale and also running on our new extension towards Northallerton starting on February 16 as planned, although it will not be possible to alight at the terminus until later in the year.”

It is expected the cost of the repairs will; be in the region of £30,000 – and donations to ensure that the work can be completed quickly so trains can operate over the full line during the important Easter holidays are being sought.