A REGULAR train service will resume on a stretch of railway which has been out of action for six years.

From Sunday, July 1, Weardale Railway will run two trains a day on a Sunday from Stanhope to Bishop Auckland and back, having only travelled as far as Witton-le-Wear in recent years.

Extending the service will provide the only public transport between Weardale and Bishop Auckland on a Sunday and will also allow passengers to connect to Northern Rail services.

Trains will leave Stanhope for Bishop Auckland at 10am and 3pm and will return at 11.15am and 4.15pm. The journey takes 55 minutes.

There will also be one trip a day to Witton-le-Wear only, with services also running on Saturdays for most of the year and on Wednesdays during school holidays. It is hoped even more services will be introduced next year.

The timetable changes follow repairs to the track and a special one-off service to Bishop Auckland in April during the town’s popular food festival.

A Weardale Railway spokesperson said: “During the recent diesel event we discovered that there were many non-enthusiast people from Stanhope, Wolsingham and Witton-le-Wear who used the train for normal travel purposes and we hope that they’ll continue to do so when this new service commences.”

Tickets can be bought on the train or from the Bishop Trains ticket office in Bishop Auckland station.