WORK has started on a £51,000 scheme to link the Wensleydale Railway to Northallerton.

The project – which is backed with £40,000 from Hambleton District Council money – will see a new temporary platform built to the west of Northallerton, about a mile from the town's main station.

The station at Scruton will also be opened up to trains as part of the work.

The improvements will mean passengers will be able to travel 22 miles from Northallerton into the Dales for the first time, and will create a link to East Coast Main Line services.

Although there is no parking at the new Northallerton West station, Wensleydale Railway volunteers are hoping to erect signs for walkers from the town centre and from the main station - with the route estimated to take between ten and 15 minutes to walk from both.

“This development first nicely into our economic strategy which includes improving the economy through better transport links and improved job opportunities,” said deputy leader of Hambleton District Council, Councillor Peter Wilkinson.

“It will help bring people from Bedale and Wensleydale into Northallerton – and extends the passenger element of the line from Leeming Bar, where it currently stops, to Northallerton.

"The council is committed to growing the district’s economy and sees this as a high priority.”

Philip Smith, secretary of the Wensleydale Railway Trust, added: “This is a real milestone and shows our commitment to serving the people of Northallerton.

"It is a step on the way to getting a permanent station near to Northallerton mainline station sometime in the future.”

The new platform should be completed in November, with the first passenger trains due to run to Northallerton on the weekend of November 22/23.

The line currently runs passenger services from Leeming Bar through Bedale to Redmire, but was on the verge of collapse last year after a major landslip at Akebar, near Leyburn, virtually closed it for months.

Major repairs were carried out, but it cost the railway £100,000 and wiped out reserves which were going to be ploughed into running new services to Northallerton.

The Wensleydale Railway has been in operation since the early 1990s with an overall long term business plan which includes extending the line from Leeming Bar to Northallerton; extending the line from Redmire to Aysgarth.

For more details on train times visit