Alnham : Railway Schemes
One event which might have spurred population growth and an increase in the built-up area of the village was the formation of Northumberland Central Railway. This was one of a number of schemes promoted in the mid-late 19th century for a railway line through central Northumberland, to enable the North British Railway to gain direct access to the lucrative markets of industrial Tyneside.
The line was projected to run between a junction with NBR’s Wansbeck Railway at Scots Gap, via Rothbury, Alnham, Glanton, Wooler and Millfield culminating in a junction with the North Eastern Railway’s Tweedmouth-Kelso branch at Cornhill. The proposed route, surveyed in 1862, would have taken the line immediately to the east of Pennylaws and Castle Farms (NRO QRU p108; Jenkins 1991, 21).
Had the railway come to fruition in its entirety, the village could have been provided with a very convenient station, considerably better sited than many of those to be found on Northumbrian branch or cross-country lines, which purported to serve villages miles distant. This in turn would have made it the transport node for the surrounding estates. In the final event, however, only the section between Rothbury and Scots Gap was constructed (Warn 1975, 29-31; Jenkins 1991, 9-26; Sewell 1992, 82-5; Mackichan 1998, 39ff).
A later scheme, the Central Northumberland Railway, promoted in 1881, which was also projected to run from Rothbury to Wooler via Alnham (QRU p152), similarly came to nothing (Warn 1975, 41, 43; Jenkins 1991, 45-6; Mackichan 1998, 129-54). The Star Inn at Netherton is said to have been built, as the Star Hotel, in anticipation of the eventual arrival of this particular line (Mackichan 1998, 133).