Railway Housing Association
Rebekah Jerram (centre) serves afternoon tea on the platform of Bedale station to Anne Rowlands (left) and Caroline Darnbrook (right).

All aboard to celebrate 100 years of housing association

A housing association is marking its 100th anniversary by taking its residents back in time – on a steam train!

In partnership with Darlington Building Society, Railway Housing Association is treating people to an afternoon tea experience onboard railway carriages operated by Wensleydale Railway.

The carriages, pulled by the Tornado, a coal-fired steam locomotive built in Darlington, will follow the route of the popular tourist and heritage line starting in Leeming Bar and heading to Redmire, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

This will be the Association’s signature event of the year as it celebrates its centenary in 2019.

Railway Housing Association Chief Executive Anne Rowlands said: “Railway Housing Association was established in 1919, predominantly to provide housing for railwaymen returning from World War One.

“Whilst people no longer need a railway connection to live in our homes, we are very proud of our heritage so when we were planning the events for our centenary year, one of our residents suggested a trip on a steam train and we thought this would be the perfect celebration.

“This would not have been possible without the kind support of Darlington Building Society and we would like to thank them for enabling us to make such an amazing event happen.”

The Association, which has its head office in Darlington, has been inundated with requests from residents to be part of the afternoon tea experience. As spaces are limited, the Association has carried out a ballot and the lucky residents will shortly be notified if they have been successful.

Darlington Building Society is also taking a carriage on the day and will be opening a ballot for their members to join the celebrations.

Caroline Darnbrook, Darlington Building Society’s Director, Products and Marketing, said: “As part of our commitment to the region, we are keen to support other long-standing local organisations. This is a perfect opportunity to share with the wider community alongside our own members.”

Whilst on the train, people will be treated to refreshments, along with an afternoon tea consisting of sandwiches, savoury nibbles and cakes/scones. The three-hour round trip will take people through some of the most picturesque parts of North Yorkshire.

Rebekah Jerram, Events Coordinator at Wensleydale Railway, said: “This is the first year that we will have the Tornado operating on the line, so it seems very fitting to have it for a such a special event as this.

“We are looking forward to welcoming Railway Housing Association and Darlington Building Society on what promises to be a very special day.”

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