Plans to reintroduce a North East village’s railway station to attract more tourists to the area are gathering pace.
Gilsland station, on the Tyne Valley line, closed in 1967 but now members of the Campaign to Open Gilsland Station (COGS) are seeing years of lobbying for its return starting to pay off.
Both county councillors for the village, which sits on Northumberland’s border with Cumbria, have donated cash from their own member funds to help raise awareness of visitor attractions in Gilsland in an effort to force decision makers into action.
The money from Coun Lawrence Fisher, of Cumbria County Council, and Coun Alan Sharp, of Northumberland County Council, follows a similar contribution by both members toward a 2013 feasibility study into the railway station’s return.
The new station would be located on the site of the previous one, where the railway line crosses Hadrian’s Wall and the increasingly popular Hadrian’s Wall Path.
Backers say it will allow local residents to take advantage of public transport in the face of bus cuts, and offering visitors alternative access to historic Roman sites like Poltross Burn Milecastle and Birdoswald Fort.
Nigel Jarvis, of Heart of Hadrian’s Wall Tourism Association, said: “People arrive in Carlisle by train and inquire how they can get to see Hadrian’s Wall. There is no answer!”
COGS’s plans to promote Gilsland as an accessible tourist destination also aim to provide much-needed jobs and businesses to Gilsland and nearby villages.
Wendy Bond, COGS member, added: “This gesture by the two councillors is a fine example of cooperation, common sense and good will in an important cause during these challenging times when the gloves seem to be off for the political parties.”
The Tyne Valley railway line runs from Newcastle to Carlisle and was built to carry coal, steel, quarry stone, livestock, parcels and passengers between 25 stations. Of these, only 14 stations still receive some level of service.
Other claims to fame for the village include Sir Walter Scott having stayed at the Spa hotel, inspiring two characters in his second novel, Guy Mannering - the gypsy Meg Merrilees and the Borders farmer Dandy Dinmont. Nearby, Cramel Lyn on the River Irthing is the highest waterfall in Northumberland and is popular with wild swimmers.
For more information, visit gilsland-station.org.uk.