VILLAGERS are on track for a return to the golden age of rail for the first time since the month of the Coronation.
Passenger trains last stopped regularly at the station at Witton le Wear, near Bishop Auckland, County Durham, in 1953.
Later this month passengers could again be boarding and alighting from newly installed platform – but only at weekends. The station was closed to passengers in June 1953 – the month when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in Westminster Abbey.
But Gerald Mudd, director for Weardale Railway, announced yesterday: “In an initiative involving the Weardale Railway, Witton le Wear Parish Council, the Witton Castle Country Park and Durham County Council a new station is being constructed.
“The railway has tested demand by utilising a temporary platform and now in this joint scheme is helping to build a permanent platform so that residents and visitors can board trains on a regular basis. If all goes well the platform could be operational in August.”
Parish council chairman Brewis Henderson sold lottery tickets door to door in a bid to help raise funds.
He said part of an old station platform at Bishop Auckland had been rebuilt at Witton-le-Wear at a cost of around £25,000.
“The parish council paid about £6,000 towards the platform, the county council through the local Area Action Partnership paid a similar amount, so did Witton Castle Country Park, and the railway contributed the remainder.
“It will be fantastic to have trains stopping at Witton-le-Wear after almost 60 years.”