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A train ride on the Weardale Railway is an excellent family day out! Why not come along and see what all the commotion is about?

The parent company of the Weardale Railways CIC is Iowa Pacific Holdings (IPH). IPH was formed in March 2001 to acquire railroads and create rail-related businesses. It has since successfully acquired and operated six railways while working to increase their value to rail customers and the communities they serve through improvements in services, facilities and equipment. IPH formed Permian Basin Railways (PBR) to acquire the Texas New Mexico Railroad and the West Texas & Lubbock Railway in May 2002. In December 2005, PBR acquired the San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad. Chicago Terminal Railroad opened in 2006, and Mount Hood was acquired in 2007. In 2008 IPH set its sights across the Atlantic and purchased the Weardale Railways CIC, Dartmoor Railway CIC, and Rail Management services forming British American Railway Services group.

Together British American and IPH management is a diverse group with hundreds of years of collective international rail industry experience. With backgrounds in, short lines, Amtrak, railroad supply, intermodal, trucking companies, Trans loading, car repair, and much more in the US and Heritage and mainline passenger services, railway management and track maintenance in the UK as well as extensive locomotive provision and maintenance. They are uniquely capable of devising innovative and progressive solutions to rail industry and transportation issues and experts at creative and vital industry business development.

With a strong commitment to the railways and tradition which comes directly from the company president Edwin Ellis the company understands the need to see beyond boundaries and isn’t afraid to chase its goals. Extending beyond its overwhelming operational experience to develop amazing experiences such as, Pullman Rail Journeys and fantastic dining trains at Mount Hood Railway in Oregon in the US and hugely successful special events at the Weardale and Dartmoor Railways, seeing record visitor numbers. With a commitment to keeping the nostalgic experience of rail dining alive and the aim of creating new and exciting train adventures to inspire the next generation join us and book for an unforgettable train ride today!


The line between Bishop Auckland and Stanhope was built in stages by between 1845 and 1862, British Railways passenger services survived until June 1953 and the line kept open then only for Limestone traffic from the Eastgate Cement works until March 1993. The Railway was then mothballed until 2004 when it was purchased by Weardale Railways Limited.

Iowa Pacific Holdings purchased a 75% interest in Weardale Railways Limited, with the Weardale Railway Trust and Durham County Council sharing the remaining 25% in 2008 and a Community Interest Company (CIC) was created.

Our line runs through the picturesque Wear Valley skirting the river Wear for 18 miles, starting from the beautiful small market town of Stanhope, situated within the Northern Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in County Durham, with Intermediate stations at Frosterley, Wolsingham and Witton-le-Wear ending at the market town of Bishop Auckland.

With Stanhope the hub of operations, this is where the magic begins for our very popular event “Train To Christmas Town” where it departs on its journey to Christmas Town In November and December every year.