The Trust


The Wensleydale Railway Association (Trust) Ltd is a Registered Charity (Reg. No. 1088324) and a Company Limited by Guarantee (Co. No. 4094801), and is a member organisation which supports the Wensleydale Railway Plc. The organisation, generally known as ‘The Trust’, was created in 2015 by the merger of the Wensleydale Railway Association (WRA) and the Wensleydale Railway Trust (WRT), the former being set up as a member organisation in 1990 to promote the reopening of the railway, which had not provided regular passenger services since 1954. The WRT was established as a charity in 2000 with the following ‘charitable objects’ which were inherited by WRA(T) at the merger:

(i) To advance the education of the public in all matters related to the Wensleydale Railway between Northallerton in the County of North Yorkshire and Garsdale in the County of Cumbria (hereinafter called “the Railway”) and railways and public transport in general and integrated transport in particular.

(ii) To advance and conserve the heritage of the Railway, and railways in general, for the benefit of the public.

Members of the WRA and the WRT established the Plc in 2004 to create the operating company for the line and to enter into a long-term lease with Network Rail. Passenger trains ran again in July 2003. WRA(T) supports the Plc:

  • by a combination of awarding grants for tasks and activities that are compatible with these object(ive)s, such as track repairs;
  • by funding and undertaking its own conservation and restoration projects (such as the refurbishment of Station House at Leeming Bar, assisted by a substantial grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, NLHF); 
  • by employing staff to run a Heritage Education programme with local schools and promote community engagement with local people up and down the line; and 
  • by facilitating the provision and training of volunteers, more than 250 of them from amongst the membership, to assist with a wide range of tasks required for the railway to run.

Other major projects over the years have included the restoration of the signal box at Leeming Bar, the restoration of Scruton Station, the construction of a passing loop and other facilities at Leyburn Station, and the refurbishment of various items of rolling stock.

The Trust publishes a booklet called ‘Relay’ three times a year, which is issued to all members, currently numbering approximately 1650. It also fundraises though a combination of appeals to members and the general public and by seeking grants from funding bodies such as NLHF.

The Trust is run by a Council of Management, of at least six Trustees (there are currently eight) who meet every month or two to manage the affairs of the business. New trustees are always welcome, more for their enthusiasm than their expertise!

Nigel Park – Chairman, WRA(T) 

After a career mostly in retail management and telecoms Nigel came to the WR firstly as a volunteer, then part time events organiser where he was responsible for the first steam gala amongst other things and finally as GM for 8 years until he retired in 2018. Since then he has remained as a volunteer undertaking various roles including driver and guard and in the last couple of years as a Trustee and Chairman of the Wensleydale Railway Association (Trust).


John Smithson – Treasurer, WRA(T) 

Formerly worked over 25 years for Age Concern England (now AGEUK) in various capacities including Training Manager.
Wes an elected member of Kirklees Metropolitan Council for 29 years including 5 years as Deputy Leader of the Council.
Keen and active walker.


David Walker:  Volunteer Director, Wensleydale Railway Plc and Trustee, Wensleydale Railway Association (Trust)


  • Grant applications
  • Project Management of heritage focussed schemes
  • Team Leader of WR Direct Works Team (Volunteers)


Restoration projects:

  • Bedale Signal Box (listed building)
  • Leeming Bar Station Signal Box (a National Lottery Heritage Fund supported project)
  • Scruton Station (Derelict condition to National Award winning restoration)
  • Leeming Bar Station House (National Lottery Heritage Fund supported)

Richard Leathley

Richards background is in architecture having worked for local and central government, including 17 years with British Rail Eastern Region,  private practice and for the Yorkshire Museum Service. 
He set up his own practice up ten years ago and has been trying to retire ever since.
Volunteering for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust in the summer months counting butterflies and walking get Richard outdoors and away from my other hobbies, old motorcycles and model steam engines.


Wendy Shepherd

Wendy first contributed to The Wensleydale Railway coffers in 1994 and became a volunteer after retiring from Primary School Headship. She has enjoyed a long and happy career in Education with thirty-one of these years in Management. She is currently Vice Chair of the Governing Body of a large primary school on Catterick Garrison. 

She was involved in the conception of the Scruton Station Heritage Education Programme, becoming part of the National Award-winning Volunteer Team; and is currently supporting the Wensleydale Railway Community Engagement Officer.

She has a love of history, creative arts, the environment – and animals. She has enjoyed delving into a fascinating family ancestry and involves herself in the local community, being Treasurer and Past Chair of two other organisations. 

Want to help out ?

We are always looking for new friends to help the railway move forward. If you are interested please contact us.