Rising Cumbrian river causes £175,000 of damage

Collapsed wall The retaining wall carries one of Alston's main sewage pipes and gas supply

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Volunteers and donations are being sought after rising river levels caused more than £175,000 worth of damage to a Victorian wall in Cumbria.

Recent heavy rain caused river levels to rise, at the site where the South Tyne meets the River Nent in Alston - damaging a section of retaining wall.

It also caused a large hole in the footpath beside South Tynedale Railway.

Now the railway needs to "urgently" raise £50,000 to repair the work immediately and prevent further damage.

The 75m (246ft) long wall was built in 1850 to protect the Alston end of the Newcastle and Carlisle railway line from Haltwhistle.

It is part of the original Victorian railway infrastructure.

'Threatening the track'

Brian Craven, from South Tynedale Railway, said: " We noticed a small crack a couple of weeks ago during a routine safety inspection and had already alerted our consulting engineer to the problem.

"But the massive amount of rain hitting the North Pennines raised the rivers to levels that few can recall seeing before.

Hole in footpath Full repairs are estimated to cost more than £125,000

"About 20 large stone blocks have washed away leaving a gaping hole in the footpath beside the railway and threatening the track bed."

The path has been closed. Trains on the South Tynedale Railway are unaffected due to seasonal closures.

The railway society is appealing for emergency funds to repair the wall and hole immediately.

Full repairs are estimated to cost more than £125,000.

The River South Tyne is a salmon river so emergency and repair works will be carried out with the Environment Agency.

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