PART of a railway line which has been closed since 2012 is due to open again later this month.

Weardale Railway has announced it will be able to extend its journeys to Bishop Auckland following work to repair the track.

Passenger services currently operate between Stanhope and Witton-le-Wear.

Work is underway to lift the track between Witton-le-Wear and Bishop Auckland to make it usable again.

The work is being done at Broken Banks, about half a mile from the station in Bishop Auckland, where the tracks had been sinking.

The community interest company, which owns the track, is hoping the first journey between Stanhope and Bishop Auckland will be made on Saturday, April 21, when a gala weekend is being held to celebrate its class 31 diesel locomotives.

A statement on the company’s Facebook page said: “We’re very pleased to announce that our Class 31 gala will be running between Stanhope and Bishop Auckland – we have reopened Broken Banks for the first time since 2012.”

The gala will feature two diesel locomotives – the 31106 and 31190 – which are both more than 60 years old and have not been seen on passenger trains for many years.

A total of five locomotives will be used during the two days, including two used for the company’s Train to Christmas Town event and Network Rail-liveried 31285 which has not worked a train since appearing at the Nene Valley in 2017.

It is hoped the heritage service, which is run by volunteers, will extend to Bishop Auckland from July.

Volunteer John Hill said: “We did used to go to Bishop Auckland but we haven’t been able to because of this problem at Broken Banks.

“This is something we have been looking forward to for a very long time.

“The track goes over Etherley viaduct which is fabulous – you can see for ever either way. It’s very high.

“It’s going to be brilliant.”

He added: “It’s been talked about for the last five years and now we’re doing something about it.”

The heritage service has been running since 2014 and extended to Witton-le-Wear in 2016.

For prices and to see the timetable for the gala weekend visit