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   Middleton Railway    For more information see: www.middletonrailway.org.uk
Contributors:  © Reproduction prohibited / Ian Dobson / David Webdale


New Book
We have recently published a new book - 'From Rag to Railway'

It has received favourable reviews in both 'Heritage Railway' and 'Steam Railway' magazine - the latter rated it as 'highly recommended' and "definitely one
for the industrial enthusiast". The 80 page book contains 160 mostly colour and mostly unpublished images showing the changes and challenges the railway
has faced, its people and its rolling stock. Available from the Middleton Railway shop for £8.50 or is available by mail order for £10 (including postage)
by writing to – Middleton Railway (Book), The Station, Moor Road, Hunslet, Leeds, LS 10 2JQ.
You can also order a copy by telephoning our information line on 0845 680 1758 (only 9am until 9pm please!) and having your card details ready!

If you have never visited the railway before, why not do so during our 50th anniversary year, and if you have, why not make a repeat visit and see the changes?
You will always be greeted with a warm welcome. Trains run every weekend and August Wednesdays.

Contact Ian Dobson Middleton Railway
 If you require any information regarding the book or the railway I can be contacted on 07795 690049 or by e-mail  - ian.dobson9015@btinternet.com
 


History of the railway

The story of preservation at the Middleton Railway is a remarkable one.
The railway made preservation history by becoming the first standard gauge line to be run by volunteers.

In late 1959 Leeds University Union Railway Society were looking for somewhere to build and run a small railway. Several options were discussed until eventually the Middleton Railway was decided upon. After discussions with the owners, the Society moved into Claytons Yard and took over the Northern part of the recently vacated Middleton Railway. The students and lecturers, led by Fred Youell, undertook track repairs and maintenance between lessons. Further negotiations took place and soon the lines first locomotive arrived on loan from the Hunslet Engine Company at the Middleton Railway, a small ex LMS Hunslet diesel that was later bought by the society and named “John Alcock” in honour of its designer. More items or rolling stock arrived at the railway, including several trams and railcars. This included a Swansea and Mumbles vehicle. This and the Hunslet diesel became the first standard gauge passenger train to be operated by volunteers. 50 years ago this week, the annual Leeds University “Rag Week” took place, and the railway offered rides for a small donation. During the course of the week over 7000 people were carried.

However, passenger trains were not to be a regular feature, as in September 1960 regular freight services began, moving goods in and out of the various works along the line down to the British Rail interchange at Balm Road. Unfortunately “John Alcock” failed and the Railway arranged to borrow a BR Class 04 - D2323 for a short time to operate their trains, probably becoming the first railway to hire in a visiting locomotive! With repairs complete the Hunslet was returned to service and the BR locomotive left. The railway started to acquire other locomotives and it was only a matter of time until steam locomotives started to arrive on the line.

The students continued to run the railway, many coming down before, during and after lectures to keep the freight moving and valuable income coming in for the railway. Open days in Claytons Yard were a regular event with locomotives displayed for the public and enthusiasts to see. Tours were also run for enthusiast groups wishing to travel on the railway.

With the decline of freight, the railway had to think ahead and look at regular passenger operation. When this first started, it consisted of nothing more than an open wagon and brake van propelled towards what is now Middleton Park, via the re-connected Southern end of the line that British Rail had now vacated with the closure of the colliery at Broom Pit. One threat to the line was the building of the M1 motorway tunnel, after a level crossing and flagmen were suggested the builders eventually agreed to a tunnel built over the railway to carry the motorway.

Time moved on and the railway was forced to move from Claytons Yard to the current Moor Road site. Here a shed and station was built, and its first proper passenger carriage constructed, followed by a second similar vehicle.
In more recent times the railway has had other bridges built over the line. During the construction period of one of these bridges, the railway made the decision to rebuild its Moor Road site with the help of Lottery money. In 2007 the Engine House was officially opened.

The railway still continues to grow and has just had a very successful 50th anniversary gala. Current projects include the restoration of NER H Class 1310 (LNER Y7)

see: www.middletonrailway.org.uk mouse over the "Enthusiasts" tab then click Y7 workshop diary in the drop down menu.
 

New shed (30-06-12) : David Webdale
View of the new shed from the upstairs window. Model railway exhibition going on at the far end.
Leeds Central signs (30-06-12) : David Webdale
Signs from Leeds Central station on display in the stairway.
Middleton (30-06-12) : David Webdale
View from Moor Road station facing south. The M621 bridge visible in the distance.
Matthew Murray (30-06-12) : David Webdale
Matthew Murray Manning, Wardle Class L locomotive. Providing "driver for a fiver" entertainment.
Slough Estate No.3 (30-06-12) : David Webdale
Slough Estate No.3, dating from 1924. Ready to roll from Moor Road.
The engine is now owned by the Slough & Windsor Railway Society and is on loan to the Middleton Railway.
Slough Estate No.3  (30-06-12) : David Webdale
Coupling up the loco at Moor Road after running around.
Slough Estate No.3  (30-06-12) : David Webdale
Approaching the carriages after running around at Park Halt.
Moor road crossing (30-06-12) : David Webdale
Connection with main Leeds to Derby line at Balm road.
Moor road crossing (30-06-12) : David Webdale
Facing the other way.
Moor road crossing (30-06-12) : David Webdale
From the other side of the road facing up the tracks towards Balm road.

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