STR Leader of the Track!
2017 has been an absolutely fantastic year for South Tynedale Railway, with the conclusion of a 3 year, £5.6 million development project which included a £4.2 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant, the opening of the new facilities at Alston station in July by HRH the Duke of Gloucester and now winning two gold awards at the North East England Tourism Awards 2017.
Developments this season have been very well received by visitors and include an accessible viewing gallery above the engineering workshop, new cafe with extra outdoor seating and offering an exciting seasonal menu with lots of locally sourced produce and catering for gluten free, vegetarian and vegan diets. The Discovery Centre, with its exhibition, cinema, meeting space and kitchen, was recently used as a venue for the North Pennines Star Gazing Festival and is increasingly being hired as a venue for workshops and events.
Dogs are welcome everywhere on site from the trains, to the cafe, to the viewing gallery and the Discovery Centre. Dogs are even welcome to book on to the Santa Special trains which this year run on 9th, 10th, 16th,17th,18th and 19th December, and just like the children dogs receive their own present from Santa!
Richard Graham Chair of South Tynedale Railway said,
‘We were thrilled to receive a Highly Commended in last year’s NE England Tourism Awards but are absolutely delighted to have received Gold in two categories, Small Visitor Attraction and Dog Friendly Business, this year. We are pleased that all of the recent developments have been well received by our visitors and have helped us to win these awards. We are proud to run with a blended team of staff and volunteers and we going full steam ahead for next season with lots of exciting events in the pipeline.’
Sarah Stewart, chief executive at destination management and marketing organisation NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “Huge congratulations to all of tonight’s winners. It’s been another brilliant year for entries and we received a high standard of entrants across all categories. The tourism sector in the North East of England continues to thrive, from our buzzing city centres to our beautiful coastline and varied countryside. Next year promises to be another exciting one for the region as we welcome the Great Exhibition of the North which will have a major impact on our visitor, and wider, economy.”