WENSLEYDALE Railway has been given custody of the National Railway Museum’s photo archive.

The 3,000-image photo archive is to be used by the Wensleydale railway in North Yorkshire as a unique reference and research resource for historians and railway enthusiasts.

And coupled with the railways own image archive, will see the line which runs from Leeming Bar to Redmire setting up its own gallery at Finghall Lane Halt, which once featured as Rainby Halt in the Television series All Creatures Great and Small.

Guy Loveridge, chairman of Wensleydale Railway plc said: “We are delighted to have been granted custody by the science museum group of over 3,000 images.

“This will be paired with the railway’s own extant image archive and future acquisitions and gifts to form a reference and research resource for years to come, which will see us developing Finghall Halt as a dedicated Gallery where people can alight from our services and enjoy the images both on the wall and on a dedicated digital viewing screen.”

He added: “Many of these images, some dating back into the early 1900s, have never been shown publicly in this way.

“There is a wealth of material, and we already have plans for an exhibition in 2022 themed Royalty on the Rails which will utilise a selection of the newly arrived collection.

“This is an exciting addition to the railway’s heritage offer.

“Wensleydale Railway volunteers have done a full refurbishment and repaint of the former station waiting room at Finghall Halt, which will be the location of the new Richard King Gallery.

The wonderful archive of photographs will shortly benefit from the attention of a couple history students, joining the plc as interns, from Teesside University, who will undertake cataloguing and digital scanning to allow the creation of a reference archive”

Guy said: “It is a great honour for the Wensleydale Railway to become custodians of the archive and enthusiasts will be able to purchase duplicate photographs of certain images from the archive with all the proceeds going to the railway.”

The Wensleydale Railway is a heritage railway in Wensleydale and Lower Swaledale in North Yorkshire.

It was built in stages by different railway companies and originally extended to Garsdale railway station on the Settle-Carlisle line.

Regular passenger services operate between Leeming Bar and Redmire, while occasional freight services and excursions travel the full length of the line.

The line formerly ran from Northallerton to Garsdale on the Settle-Carlisle Railway but the track between Redmire and Garsdale has been lifted and several bridges have been demolished, although one of the stated aims of the Wensleydale Railway is to reinstate the line from Redmire to Garsdale.

Additionally, a separate proposal exists to link Hawes to Garsdale with a view to providing commuter and tourist services rather than heritage services.

The Wensleydale Railway Association (WRA) was formed in 1990 with the main aim of restoring passenger services. When British Rail decided to try to sell the line between Northallerton and Redmire following cessation of the quarry trains to Redmire, the WRA decided to take a more proactive role and aimed to operate passenger services itself.

In 2000, WRA formed a separate operating company, the Wensleydale Railway plc (WRC), and issued a share offer to raise funds. £1.2 million was raised through this method. Railtrack agreed to lease the line between Northallerton and Redmire to WRC and a 99-year lease was signed in 2003.

Since 2003, the remaining line has been run as a heritage railway. The line runs 22 miles (35 km).