Tynedale train

Helping to join up isolated communities

28 Jan 2015

Tynedale train

In a high-speed world of social media and super-fast broadband, the South Tynedale Railway is a delightful reminder of another era. Handsome steam engines putter down the three-and-a-half miles of narrow gauge railway, stopping at three stations between the Cumbrian village of Alston and Lintley in Northumbria.

Last summer the station café at Alston brimmed with visitors eager to try the homemade cakes. But beneath the old-fashioned façade, this little railway is planning full-steam ahead for the future. As well as attracting tourists, it is also linking up isolated rural communities, encouraging social inclusion and helping to give young people the experience they need to find work.

The power behind the community railway, the South Tynedale Railway Preservation Society (STRPS) is working hard to maintain and restore this line. To help them in their quest, Big Issue Invest has offered to finance the refurbishment of the Grade Two station house at Alston into an HQ with a one-bedroom flat and caretaker on site. “STRPS is so much more than a fantastic day out in a beautiful part of England,” says Daniel Wilson, BII’s senior investment manager. “They have such a positive impact on their local community and this is at the heart of the Big Issue Invest mission.”

If you’d like to read the full feature which appeared in The Big Issue you can here.