The Weardale Railway, situated in County Durham, was a mothballed branch line from Bishop Auckland following the River Wear westwards to Eastgate-in- Weardale, a distance of approximately 18.7 miles.
The line was originally built by the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 1847 to transport limestone to the ironwork of Teesside, and by 1895 had been extended to its final terminus of Wearhead. Although the passenger service was withdrawn in 1953 (apart from a limited summer Sunday service between 1988 and 1992), the line was retained for freight use transporting bulk cement from the Blue Circle works at Eastgate. This use also ceased in 1993, so the line was mothballed and threatened with lifting.
The line is now run as a heritage railway, but also has provided a weekday commuter service between Stanhope and Bishop Auckland, generally using a Pacer unit. Heritage trains are run at weekends and bank holidays.
There are ongoing Northern Rail connections at Bishop Auckland for Darlington. These may be used to visit the NRM at Shildon, a couple of minutes walk from Shildon station, and the Darlington “ Head of Steam” Railway Museum located next to Darlington North Road Station.
Please check website for opening times.