Bringing railway attraction back to life is on the right track

Work to reopen the popular Alford Valley Community Railway (AVCR) is to go full steam ahead as the group behind the project have finally received the keys to the station.

AVCR members can now begin work on the Alford Valley Community Railway.
AVCR members can now begin work on the Alford Valley Community Railway.

AVCR members applied to Aberdeenshire Council in September 2020 to lease the former station building, engine shed and surrounding grounds.

The asset transfer application was approved by councillors in January. And now the board has finalised the 25-year lease with Aberdeenshire Council. They also have the keys to the railway station, engine shed and railway line.

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Group secretary Yvonne Buckingham said: “We can now start the hard work of physically bringing this much loved and treasured attraction back to life.

“We would like to extend our thanks to Aberdeenshire Council and Marr Area Office for their support during this long journey. We would like to express our appreciation for the support received from Grampian Transport Museum Trust, Alford Golf Club and Donside Community Council.”

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The group revealed that a benefactor had purchased the majority of the former railway vehicles.

But thanks to them the Hamewith will return to the track along with the James Gordon and its carriages.

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Meanwhile the Braw Lass is on permanent loan from a second benefactor.

Board members said they are “extremely grateful to these individuals for their ongoing support”.

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They also praised the Alford community and surrounding areas for their “unshakeable faith in the project”.

The popular narrow-gage railway has been closed since 2017.

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It was originally opened in 1979 by local enthusiast James Gordon however it was closed for good due to concerns about the track’s condition. The buildings and surrounding grounds will be leased to AVCR for the next 25 years at a cost of £1 per year.

Work on the railway will be carried out in phases.

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Phase one will see refurbishment work carried out on the station, followed by the engine shed and turntable in phase two.

Phase three will see work carried out on the Haughton Park station and car park while the track is expected to be completed in phase four.