MORE than 500 rail enthusiasts travelled to Locomotion on 19th February on board the first scheduled passenger service to connect a rural rail line for more than 50 years.
Rail tour operator UK Railtours ran the one-day service from London King’s Cross station to and up the Weardale Railway line, to Stanhope, before returning south in the afternoon.
Dr George Muirhead, Locomotion manager, said: “We are absolutely delighted that this is happening, everyone at the museum is really excited.
“We have had charter trains in the past, but the connection to Weardale makes this even more inviting.
“I think it demonstrates the real potential of the Weardale Railway, now that the link has been made with Bishop Auckland, and we hope to welcome many more services.
“It has been more than 50 years since the last scheduled passenger service passed through Bishop Auckland and up the dale to Stanhope.
“At its peak in the Thirties, the line carried seven passenger trains, and seven freight trains, every day.”
At Locomotion the passengers took the opportunity to view the Robert Stephenson's Trust's Exhibition "The Art of Robert Stephenson"