The Wensleydale Railway has been host to Network Rail’s Dr. Neil Strong who is their Biodiversity strategy manager.
The meeting took place to find out if both organisations could collectively learn from each others experience in biodiversity in areas such as training, volunteering and knowledge exchange.
The opportunity for the organisations would be mutually beneficial, especially as training opportunities for Network Rail staff on the Wensleydale Railway offers a wide range of railway related experiences such as safety training, tree climbing training and trialling fencing material.
The Wensleydale Railway treated Dr. Strong and his team for a full tour up and down the heritage line, giving them a feel for the railway.
The group stopped off at the recently renovated Leeming Bar station which benefitted from a grant from The National Heritage Lottery Fund, and also stopping off at Scruton Station, which has been restored to its First World War appearance and is themed throughout, and is home to The Wensleydale Railway’s Heritage Education Programme.
Following lunch with Platform One Catering on Bedale station, the group walked the line to experience the impact of biodiversity with a special focus on Ash dieback and line vegetation control.
Ash dieback is a disease in ash trees that leads to leaf loss and crown dieback, which can lead to the death of the tree in a short time period.
The disease has spread through the UK and will impact trees alongside railway lines which increases the risk of safety-related incidents.
Dr Neil Strong, Network Rail’s Biodiversity strategy manager said: “I spent a really good day with the Wensleydale Railway. The primary aim was to see what both organisations could take from each other in terms of biodiversity including training, volunteering and knowledge exchange. There is a massive opportunity to use the Wensleydale Railway for training going forward.
Chairman of the line, Guy Loveridge said: “ Dr Strong and his team joined us for a trip up and down the line and experienced the heritage offer at both Leeming Bar station which has recently been restored using a Heritage Lottery Money and at Scruton station which has been fully restored as a First World War themed location.”
“ We look forward to working ever more closely with our ‘landlords’, and friends at Network Rail.”
“ Following a sandwich lunch at Platform One at Bedale station the group walked the line Westwards to witness first-hand the impact of biodiversity, with specific focus on Ash dieback and line vegetation control.”
Ally Howard, Network Rail Auditor, said: “The volunteers are amazing, and I’m so impressed with what’s been done to restore that level of history so accurately”
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