The South Tynedale Railway Preservation Society has run and developed the railway as an incorporated society since 1983, developing the work of an unincorporated group started in 1973. The railway follows the former route of British Rails Haltwhistle to Alston branch line. Opened in stages in 1851 and 1852, the line survived for over a century until its closure was announced in 1973 and carried out in 1976.
A voluntary society was formed to take over the entire route but its first efforts failed. However, a reformed group successfully opened the first stage of a narrow gauge railway in 1983. Since then the railway has grown and prospered.
The main aims of the Society are to:
- Restore and preserve the former Haltwhistle – Alston branch railway;
- Recreate a community railway linking Alston Moor, South Tynedale and the wider North Pennine AONB with the national railway network at Haltwhistle;
- Provide facilities for restoration, maintenance, operation and display of locomotives, rolling stock, railway machinery and equipment;
- Provide facilities for the public to travel on, observe the line and its installations and to take part in its operations where feasibl