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Queensbury to Bradford
1878 - 1955
Great Northern Railway
Contributors:  © Reproduction prohibited / Graeme Bickerdike / Nigel Callaghan / Adam Carter / Grahame H Beacher
                              Des Phillips / Keith Rose / John Sutcliffe / Dave Graham / Matt c / Charles Boylan / David Webdale
The Routes
The Queensbury lines on this website are split into 4 sections. See links below.
This page covers the Queensbury to Bradford section.

The Queensbury Lines -

Queensbury Station
A triangular Station, one of only two in the entire country, each converging line had a signal box controlling entry into the station, each of the three lines leaving the station entered a lengthy tunnel or a series of tunnels.

Queensbury - Halifax
From Queensbury to Halifax via Holmfield Ovenden & North Bridge.



Queensbury - Keighley
From Queensbury to Keighley via Thornton, Denholme, Wilsden, Cullingworth & Ingrow.

 


 

Queensbury & Thornton to Bradford

The Route
From a triangular junction on the Hammerton street to Bradford Exchange section at St Dustans, to Thornton, via Manchester road, Horton Park, Great Horton, Clayton, Queensbury & Thornton.
See also  Queensbury - Keighley

Length
Bradford to Thornton 5 1/2 miles.

Original Companies
The Bradford & Thornton Railway company was formed in 1870.
This company was formed after the failure of the GNR & the L&Y's proposals to build a line jointly. The Bradford & Thornton Railway Company was taken over by the GNR on 18th July 1872.

Opening
s
Freight - July 1877  Bradford to Clayton.
                1st May 1878 Clayton to Thornton.
Passengers - 14th October 1878 Bradford to Thornton.

Closures
Passengers - 23rd May 1955.
Freight - 11 November 1963.
 


Queensbury Station Map 1908
NIgel Callaghan

Opened  12-07-1879
Closed    21-05-1955

See also
Queensbury Station

























 
Halifax, Queensbury, Low Moor & Wyke map (1843) : John Sutcliffe
One inch to the mile map showing Sowerby Bridge in the west and Dewsbury in the east. Published by Col. Colby dated 1843.
(This file size is about 1.4 meg, so it may take a while to download)
Timetables (1950) : Charles Boylan
A summer 1950 Queensbury line timetable. Note that the Queensbury - Keighley section is repeated in the "down" direction on both timetables. A mistake which presumably would have been rectified in a timetable supplement.  See also Queensbury Keighley
Timetables (1954/55) : Charles Boylan
Sadly, this is the last ever timetable for the Queensbury lines from the winter 1954/55 North Eastern Region edition. I am particularly impressed by the 14 minutes allowed for the non stop run of the last Bradford Halifax service bringing through coaches from Kings Cross. The thought of a LNER N1 going all out up the gradient to Queensbury is impressive but in reality it most probably went via Low Moor so the lines signalboxes could be closed as all other services had ceased a few hours earlier with the exception of a later service on Saturday. I would be delighted to be told otherwise.  See also Queensbury Keighley
Keighley to Bradford Exchange via Queensbury : Dave Graham (c/o Paul Holroyd)
A simulation of the journey from Keighley to Bradford if the line was still in use today.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msL3L5t1uAs
Iron bridge Queensbury east junction facing east (21-08-05) : David Webdale
Standing on, or near, Queensbury east junction, facing east. see Queensbury station
This rusty but solid little iron bridge is the only real bit of evidence on the whole site there was actually any railway here at all.
Clayton tunnel is a bit further on around the corner.

Clayton Tunnel
Clayton tunnel west portal (
21-08-05) : David Webdale
Standing on top of a mountain of landfill, peering down at the west portal of Clayton tunnel. Pile of spoil from the tunnel excavations visible on top.
Clayton tunnel west portal (21-08-05) : David Webdale
The view of Clayton tunnel from half way up station road, facing east. see map Queensbury station
The cutting leading up to the tunnel entrance completely land filled. Small gap left between Portal & landfill marked by a ring of trees.
Clayton tunnel west portal : Grahame H Beacher   website - http://www.nethernutone.co.uk/

Clayton Tunnel visit
Nigel Callaghan & Adam Carter  
website -  www.pullman-publications.co.uk
Clayton tunnel approach has been infilled with huge amounts of waste and this now rises to something like 30-40ft ABOVE the tunnel, with just a small gap between the infill and the tunnels portal.
I've walked right through the 1,057-yard long Clayton Tunnel, unfortunately the other end has been completely infilled and earthed-over, so I had to do a smart about turn and walk all the way back again. I've tried to find the precise location of the north-eastern portal and believe it lies somewhere close to the edge of a new housing development, though I never found its exact position. If you are ever able to do this, I would appreciate some photographs.

Notes for Clayton Tunnel.
Yorkshire West - SE 111311-120315
Length in Yards - 1057
Bore - Double
Railway Company - Great Northern Railway

Internal Condition
Internally wet in places, though not in any way flooded, nor very muddy. There are two ventilation shafts, both of which have been sealed and capped. The lining of these shafts lays in a heap below on the tunnel floor. The tunnel has been strengthened in two places for a short stretch of around 20-yards, one place about two thirds of the way from the southwestern post and the other close to the northeastern portal. The northeastern portal has been infilled, by piling up mud and rubble about 11 yards into the tunnel. Could not ascertain whether it had also been bricked up from the outside.
 
Access
Reach south-western portal via Queensbury Station site along track bed. This portal has been bricked-up with an opening door, which was not locked when visited.
This portal has been almost smothered by infilling and now lies in a deep and precipitous abyss surrounded by infill.
The north eastern portal was not found and I believe it now lies somewhere on the edge of a large new housing development, close to Oakleigh Avenue, which is off Station Road, Clayton. See E-mail on the North eastern portal : 02/10/05 Below.
Access to the west portal easy, along trackbed from the site of Queensbury Station, reached by a footpath from the huge skew railway bridge, which crosses the steeply inclined Brow Lane, or from another path off Bridle Stile Lane.

Usage, Ownership or Status
Owned by BR Property Board Ref: Y-SDK-30-6
 
Date of last visit, inspection or update
Southwestern portal visited and entered by Nigel Callaghan & Andrew King on Wednesday 28th April 2004, and the tunnel was walked through right up to the infill, on 23rd July 2004 by the same people.
 
Notes & other points of interest
The approach to the western portal has been in filled with enormous quantities of inert waste, filling the approach to a height of about 35-ft above trackbed level. The portal of the tunnel is now engulfed in an abyss around 35-ft deep to within 50 yards of its portal. If further landfill material is dumped here the tunnels southwestern mouth will be entirely obliterated.

Comments
These routes abound in extensive earthworks, viaducts and tunnels, including the short branch to Bradford, City Road, Goods Deport and the branch to Halifax. The most notable being Lees Moor (1,533 yards) between Ingrow and Cullingworth on the Keighley section, Clayton (1,057 yards) between Queensbury and Clayton on the Bradford side of the longest tunnel on the system.
Sadly, the entire area of the historic and unusual triangular Queensbury Station has been bulldozed and totally destroyed; many of the approach cuttings to the tunnels have been in filled with waste and levelled. Anyone wishing to visit and view this interesting and unique site should do so without haste before it is totally destroyed forever.
 
Walking through the tunnel from the southwestern portal, it is straight and almost clear of any debris or rubbish. There are a few piles of old rotting sleepers and the tunnel is damp with a few drips of water. There are a few deep open drains in the centre of the tunnel and care must be taken not to fall into these. Both of the shafts have been sealed and a pile of bricks from their linings lays on the tracked below. At the northeastern end, a huge amount of clay, mud and rubble has been bulldozed against the tunnels mouth making entry or exit impossible and we had to exit by making the return walk back to the souteastern portal, facing a steep climb out.


Clayton Tunnel north eastern portal : Nigel Callaghan & Adam Carter
I now have some some photo's showing evidence of the elusive NE Portal of Clayton Tunnel. I will attach a few of these to this email. It would seem that its been totally earthed-over in a rather peculiar way. From inside the infill appears a a large sloping mound of earth of bricks piled up at a 45° angle.
These recent photographs were taken by a chap named Adam Carter, who was showing an interest in the area. He investigated the site on my behalf and managed to find the other end of the tunnel, taking photographs of what he found and saw. See below.
Clayton Tunnel N E Portal (02/10/05) : Adam Carter
I ventured to the Clayton portal yesterday and took a few pictures. I did find it, however, locating the precise location of the portal proved slightly confusing due to the artificial topography as you will read. I entered the field from Oakleigh Avenue I think it was, and took an immediate right.
There I saw a large mound of earth with a shaft on top of it.
Clayton Tunnel N E Portal ( 02/10/05) : Adam Carter
This confused me as I thought the shaft would have been needed further into the tunnel and not at the entrance.
Clayton Tunnel N E Portal (02/10/05) : Adam Carter
I climbed the mound to find a plateau almost, which then rose once again about 100metres further down in a similar way.
I realised this could not have been the portal as the shaft would have been outside it.
Clayton Tunnel N E Portal (02/10/05) : Adam Carter
I walked along another raised section of land beyond this 2nd mound to find the embankment intersecting Baldwin Lane.
Baldwin cut straight through it , I could see a third shaft on the other side of the road on top of the embankment.
I cannot make sense of what I saw. I do not understand why there was this embankment feature running above ground above the tunnel, unless it was formed from earth which was extracted from within the hillside, but then would the shaft not have been at the original land height? Hmmm.... I suspect the portal to therefore be at the first embankment although this misplaced shaft requires explanation. I could not find any crown of the portal or any stonework. Hope you can make more sense of this than I could!!

Clayton Tunnel north eastern portal location : Graeme Bickerdike (19-02-06)  website - http://www.forgottenrelics.co.uk/

I’m currently writing a series of articles entitled ‘Forgotten Relics of an Enterprising Age’, about notable but long-lost bits of railway infrastructure and the people who used to work there. I discovered your website whilst researching a piece about the Queensbury triangle. I found your information on Clayton tunnel fascinating, in particular the search for the lost north-eastern portal. I hope the two attached files will help you locate it.

File 1 Clayton aerial view (Google earth)
“CLAYTON-AERIAL” is an image composited using Google Earth. As you may know, this software allows you to view aerial shots of almost anywhere in the world. It also has a measuring tool. Using it, it’s possible to measure 1,057 yards from the visible south-west portal. This is shown by the yellow line.
The capped shafts which Adam Carter photographed are also shown on the photo.


To allow for any inaccuracy, I suspect the north-east portal could be anywhere within the blue circle.
The layout of the houses supports this. Two rows built either side of the tunnel line (Oakleigh Avenue and Rosehip Rise/Blackberry Way) which move further apart close to the portal. Their gardens are over the tunnel itself together with what appear to be lock-ups on top of the actual portal.
There is then a house on Bramble Close, in the middle of the former trackbed.

File 2 Clayton maps present & c1950
“CLAYTON-MAP” compares two OS maps – one current and the other from the 1950s.
These suggest the location given above looks pretty accurate. I hope this information helps you find some remnant on the ground.

Clayton Tunnel exploration
Clayton-1: (23-11-07) : Graeme Bickerdike  website - http://www.forgottenrelics.co.uk/
The eastern portal is unceremoniously buried beneath infill which is probably around 50 feet deep. The back garden of a bungalow is on the surface here. At the base of this rubble is a pit in which a drain has been unearthed. Remarkably the water is still flowing.
Clayton-2: (23-11-07) : Graeme Bickerdike
The tunnel contains two structures fashioned from bullhead rail - this is the smaller one - which would have been used by maintenance staff when carrying out inspections and repointing work. Hanging from it are horizontal rails to support a platform.
Clayton-3: (23-11-07) : Graeme Bickerdike
Neither of these frameworks are connected to the tunnel itself so they don't support the lining. This one is about 30 feet from end-to-end. Between here
and the easterly ventilation shaft, two bore holes can be seen in the roof. Presumably these were drilled from the surface.
Clayton-4: (23-11-07) : Graeme Bickerdike
Between the bore holes and the shaft, a section of rock and lining has fallen - it's probably about 8 feet square. Perhaps this was caused by the drilling of a third bore hole. The near edge is along the line of a butt joint. This shot gives you some idea of the extent of the tunnel's structure. At this point, the lining is five bricks thick. It's likely to be more near the ventilation shafts. The effort involved in constructing a tunnel is beyond our comprehension today.
It's also interesting to note that Clayton doesn't have any refuges for trackworkers - quite something for such a long tunnel. Perhaps the clearances were not as tight as other bores. At its northern end, Queensbury doesn't have any until you're about quarter-of-a-mile in.
Clayton-5: (23-11-07) : Graeme Bickerdike
The easterly shaft (383 yards in from the Clayton end) is in great condition but has been reinforced. I don't know whether the ironwork is original or was added more recently. There is some water coming down but it was possible to stand beneath without drowning!
Clayton-6: (23-11-07) : Graeme Bickerdike
As with most other tunnels, the surface funnel was pushed into the shaft before its concrete cap was attached.
In this case, half the pepperpot came down too.
Clayton-7: (19-02-08) : Graeme Bickerdike
It's amazing the stuff you find in these places. As well as the usual assortment of bolts and fishplates, Clayton is home to this boot. Who lost or abandoned it? Was he also the owner of the crutch which lies a few yards away?
Clayton-8: (19-02-08) : Graeme Bickerdike
The westerly ventilation shaft, around 350 yards from the portal, with its obligatory pile of rubble.
Clayton-9: (19-02-08) : Graeme Bickerdike
A few yards from fresh air, part of a track panel - now overturned - was left by the salvage men.
 

Clayton Station
Clayton Station Map1910 : Malcolm Mallison
Clayton (1910 Survey) Right on edge of map, so area to north (1890 survey) added using Photoshop.

Pasture lane (08-02-14) : Matt c
Pasture lane overbridge
Hollingwood lane  (08-02-14) : Matt c
Hollingwood lane underbridge.
Beckside Road bridge (nd) : Paul Whitfield c/o Alan Thompson
A picture taken by Paul Whitfield under Beckside Road bridge looking up to Old Corn Mill Lane bridge, that is in the Clayton direction.
 
Beckside Road bridge (08-02-14) : Matt c
Beckside Road bridge from above.

Great Horton station
Opened 14-10-1878. Closed 21-05-1955.
Great Horton Junction (01-1972) : Keith Rose
Great Horton Junction, January 1972.
Park Avenue Cutting (1980s) : Alan Thompson     See also Bradford Section
Laisteridge lane bridge crosses in front, beyond was Horton Park junction.
Manchester Road to Horton Tunnel (1980s) : Alan Thompson

Manchester Road station
Opened 14-10-1878. Closed 31-12-1915.
Manchester Road Station Site (1980s) : Alan Thompson    
See also Bradford Section
Newby Street bridge (1980s) : Alan Thompson
Newby street has since been renamed Stone Arches. Beyond was Manchester Road station.
Bowling Old lane bridge (1980s) : Alan Thompson
Beyond is Newby street bridge.
Spring Mill street bridge (1980s) : Alan Thompson
Bowling cutting (1980s) : Alan Thompson
Spring Mill street bridge in front.
Upper Castle street (1980s) : Alan Thompson
Ripley Street Tunnel (1980s) : Alan Thompson
St Dunstans West Junction Site (1980s) : Alan Thompson

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