Independent research has suggested that a planned extension of the Wensleydale Railway from Redmire to Aysgarth will have a “positive effect” on employment and the local economy.
The consultancy firm, Ove-Arup, says re-instating the three miles of track will bring economic benefits worth £3.1 million, on top of extra annual ticket sales of around £500,000.
Ove-Arup’s report, which is a full revision of a 2009 study, was paid for in part by a grant of £5,000 from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund.
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The Wensleydale Railway will use the figures to support applications for funding from commercial and public sector partners.
Since the railway re-opened in the 1990s, services have had to terminate in Redmire, which is on the edge of the National Park.
The YDNPA’s Chairman, Carl Lis, said: “I’m really looking forward to the Wensleydale Railway coming back to the Park, and I’m glad to see the economic case for it spelled out so clearly in this report. Re-instating the line to Aysgarth will be difficult, but it is achievable. There’s a lot of hard work ahead and my best wishes go to the Railway’s management and volunteers.”
The Wensleydale Railway once linked the east and west coast mainlines by connecting Garsdale to Northallerton, but the line was gradually shut after the second world war. It currently operates between Northallerton West and Redmire.
More details about the Sustainable Development Fund can be found on the National Park Authority website at www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/sdf