British Army engineers help with Wensleydale Railway maintenance

Photo: CPL REBECCA BROWN © MoD Crown Copyright 2020

British Army engineers are helping maintain the Wensleydale Railway line which is used to bring armoured vehicles to and from Catterick Garrison.

For more than 20 years, armoured vehicles have been loaded on to trains at the railhead at Redmire on the Wensleydale Railway line to Northallerton to avoid road haulage.

The Commander of the Field Army, Lieutenant General Ivan Jones, visited the soldiers who have been working for more than a week on Exercise TURNOUT to refurbish and harden the 20 miles of track between the Redmire railhead and Northallerton where it joins the national network.

This work will allow the continued safe passage of freight trains carrying armoured vehicles.

Major Alex Hamilton Commanding Officer of 507 Specialist Team Royal Engineer (STRE), said: “Wensleydale is a heritage railway serving mostly tourism and the local community.

“This and other sites are a great utility to the British Army, as we are able to bring armoured vehicles up the east coast and deliver them to Catterick Garrison.”

Photo: CPL REBECCA BROWN © MoD Crown Copyright 2020

Sergeant Chris McGarry, team leader and plate layer, said: “Exercise TURNOUT has been a great opportunity to get my hands dirty and use the maintenance tools to work on the permanent way (track) as well as work with a diverse group of people.

“In my civilian career, I work on asset management for Network Rail so getting to maintain the permanent way allows me to see another side of the industry.”

Warrant Officer Class One Nick Ankrah, Royal Engineers, said: “We are a national team. Recently, we have worked at railheads in Monchengladbach in Germany and South Wales.

“Sometimes we also go to Italy. Leyburn offers a good UK setting in the picturesque Wensleydale with a variety of scenarios to develop the team’s skills.”

The exercise continues for two weeks during which the team expects to refurbish up to 20 miles of track as well as a number of small level crossings and track infrastructure.

1 Comment

  1. IT seems a pity that the line from Darlington to Richmond was axed because the extensive sidings at Catterick would have been just right for the job of moving armoured vehicles from ranges to barracks mind you when Redmire is connected to Garside it’s not far round the corner to Warcop which I presume still has the sidings in situ . Well we can only dream and every night before bed curse Dr Beeching

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