Moves to get Alford Railway back on track

Dozens of people stopped to speak to volunteers at the Alford Railway fundraising event
Dozens of people stopped to speak to volunteers at the Alford Railway fundraising event

Efforts are underway to save Alford Valley Railway.

The attraction closed more than a year ago due to concerns over the condition of the track and rolling stock.

The shutdown of the popular railway prompted an immediate response from the community.

A public meeting was held in conjunction with local Councillor Robbie Withey and Aberdeenshire Council’s Marr Area Manager.

It was well attended and following further meetings, a group of local volunteers took up the task of forming a group to try and save the railway, initially under the umbrella of Donside Community Council.

The group is supported by Marr Area Partnership and Marr Area Office.

Progress has been made to the stage of tendering for a feasibility study to be carried out to establish the viability of repairing the railway and ultimately reopening it to the public.

The group is currently in the process of raising the required funds to commission the work.

At Marr Area Committee on June 18, councillors agreed to grant £4445 towards the feasibility study.

On Saturday, June 22, volunteers raised further funds carrying out a bag-pack at the local Alford Co-op.

The remaining funds are being sought from other grants and, once secured, it is hoped the study could be complete by early 2020.

Councillor Withey said: “It was an incredible week for the Alford Valley Railway with the funding announced at the area committee and then the additional monies being raised on the Saturday.

“While the funds are vitally important in getting the project off the ground, the most interesting and pleasing thing about the fundraising event was the number of people showing an interest in the project.

“Dozens of people stopped to speak to the volunteers about the railway and many offered to help in one way or another. There could well be some new faces at the next meeting.

“It highlighted how important the attraction is to the community and how much support there is for getting it working again.”

The councillor added: “While it was fantastic to hear so many people are in support of what the group are doing, I would urge anyone who has an interest to come along to the meetings and help where possible. The more people involved the better.

“The Alford Valley Railway is not likely to be reopened overnight and a lot of work needs to be done.”