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First steam over Cawledge Viaduct in preservation era

HISTORY was made at the Aln Valley Railway on March 15 when the first steam-hauled train of the preservation era worked across Cawledge Viaduct on the former Alnwick to Alnmouth branch.

Hudswell, Clarke 0-6-0T Richboro (1243/1917) was given the honour of being the first locomotive to travel over the full length of the restored railway towards Greenrigg Halt, including the crossing of the 135-yard-long Cawledge Viaduct. 

With a single Mk1 in tow, Richboro steamed cautiously over the recently laid rails to the current limit of the line; the track still requires full ballasting.

Former Alnmouth engineman Kenny Middlemist eases Richboro over the Cawledge Viaduct at the maximum permitted speed of 3mph with the first preservation-era, steam-hauled train on March 5.

On the regulator was former Alnmouth-based footplateman Kenny Middlemist, who 53 years earlier was one of the crew aboard ex-LNER ‘K1’ 2-6-0 No. 62011, which worked the morning shift during the last day of steam service on the branch.

Mr Middlemist described driving the first steam loco over the viaduct as very emotional, having never dreamed that one day he would be at the controls of a steam loco over the restored Alnwick to Alnmouth branch.

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