SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK is donating disused railway track from its Tees Valley energy-from-waste (EfW) facility, to be re-used for improvements to the historic Wensleydale Railway in North Yorkshire.

The donation will allow the Wensleydale Railway to replace worn sections of track and points along the 22-mile railway, one of the UK’s longest heritage lines, based at Leeming Bar, near Northallerton, North Yorkshire.

A popular local visitor attraction, the Railway runs between Scruton and Leyburn and carries around 50,000 visitors every year who can access the scenic Yorkshire Dales. It offers a range of trips and seasonal events, alongside educational activities for local schools, where students can learn about life in Victorian Yorkshire. The railway is only able to run with the support of 425 dedicated volunteers who take on a range of roles, from maintenance of the line to staffing shops and operating the trains, whilst learning new skills and building friendships.

SUEZ has been a part of the community in the Tees Valley for 17 years, providing essential services through the treatment of general waste at its nearby energy-from-waste facilities in Teesside which between them serve the authorities of Stockton, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland. SUEZ was delighted to support the volunteer run local attraction – at the same time, it was able to save 2.5 miles of track from scrap so it could be reused to help the Railway continue to provide its much-loved trips and educational activities.

A Cowley & Sons are lending their support to the project, overseeing the safe removal and transport of the redundant rails 30 miles from Teesside to their new home in Leeming Bar. Work to remove the 2.5 miles of disused track and break it down to be transported began in early May 2023 and is due to be completed in early June 2023.

Steve Patterson, Regional Director North for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK said: “We’re pleased to give the disused rails from our Tees Valley facility a second life on the Wensleydale Historic Railway.  Replacing worn sections of the line will help keep trains running for years to come, giving people access to the natural beauty of the Yorkshire Dales, as well as providing a great opportunity for volunteers to support the maintenance of the railway whilst learning new skills.”

Neil Guest, a volunteer on the Wensleydale Railway said: “We’re very grateful to SUEZ for donating the rail sidings. The donation is a significant contribution to the maintenance of the Wensleydale Railway and will assist in safeguarding the railway for future generations to enjoy. We’re always welcoming volunteers to the Wensleydale Railway and following the donation of the additional tracks, there’s plenty to do and get involved!”