Cumbria is set to be home to Europe’s first solar powered railway next year. A £5.5m scheme to extend and upgrade the Alston-based South Tynedale Railway is set to go ahead, including two major environmental projects. The upgrade won’t just benefit tourists but also run electric trains, powered by the sun, for everyday, all-year-round commuters. The volunteer-run railway will be extended to Slaggyford, just north of Alston, by 2016. It is hoped that by 2025 trains will run to larger towns such as Haltwhistle, encouraging commuters to leave the car behind. Steam trains will be adapted to be powered by processed wood waste.