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Railway Ramblers     Leeds     Bradford     Calderdale     Kirklees     Wakefield



Location/maps used: OS 1:50000 104 Leeds & Bradford, 114 Sheffield & Huddersfield;
OS Street Atlas West Yorkshire

(3½ miles)

(Pickle Bridge Branch)

Opened 1.3.1881;

Closed (Pass) June 1948; (Gds) 4.8.1952

Stations Clifton Road (closed 1931), Bailiff Bridge (closed 1917)

Signal boxes Anchor Pit Junction, Wyke Junction

This line was first promoted in 1846 by the West Riding Junction Railway but 27 years was to elapse before the L&Y received authority for their scheme and even then it was further delayed by an uncooperative landowner resulting in the construction of the totally unnecessary and massive Wyke viaduct. Bailiff Bridge lost its passenger service as a wartime economic measure in 1917 and Clifton Road was destroyed by fire in 1931. Subsidence caused Wyke viaduct to become unsafe resulting in the diversion of through passenger trains from 1948 with complete closure of the line coming in 1952.

Route -when open
Leaving the Calder Valley line at Anchor Pit Junction (GR157218) it curved north to cross the River Calder and Wakefield Road (A644); climbing for the first mile at 1 in 60 to reach Clifton Road station. Crossing Clifton Common (A643) by a four-arch viaduct it climbed alongside Clifton Beck mostly at 1 in 70 and passed over a second four-arch viaduct and an embankment to Bailiff Bridge. From there it turned NW to cross the long Wyke viaduct on the far side of which it made a trailing connection with the Halifax - Bradford line at Wyke Junction.

Route - today
Walkable between Clifton Common and Lower Wyke Lane.
Further detailed information required.

Stations - no trace of Clifton Road or Bailiff Bridge,
Bridges - Wyke viaduct listed grade ll 22 arches but part demolished; details of other bridges intact/demolished required.


(1mile 988yds)

(Stainland Branch)

Opened (Pass) 1.1.1875, (Gds) 29.9.1875

Closed (Pass) 23.9.1929, (Gds) 14.9.1959

Stations Rochdale Road Halt (opened 1907), West Vale, Stainland & Holywell Green

This short double track branch was built to serve the local textile works with coal and woolen yarn going up the valley and stone and worsted cloth coming down. Six passenger trains a day were provided between Stainland and Halifax when it opened in 1875 and these were converted to railmotor operation in 1907. At the grouping the service had increased to 16 each way but competition from trams led to the LMS withdrawing the service in 1929 with the branch remaining open for freight only until 1959.

Route - when open
It left the Sowerby Bridge - Wakefield line just east of Greetland station (GR097218) and curved sharply SW to pass over Rochdale Road, where a railmotor halt was later provided. The gradient now steepened to 1 in 60 as the line was carried over Saddleworth and Stainland Roads by a 13 arch viaduct to West Vale station. From there it crossed Stainland viaduct to reach the terminus station located in the village of Holywell Green.

Route - today
Details of walkable sections and obstructions required.

Stations - Rochdale Road Halt, West Vale, Stainland & Holywell Green
Bridges - West Vale Viaduct (SE095210) listed grade ll, 690ft long 13 arches; Holywell Green 537ft 14 arches
Details of other bridges intact/demolished required.


(3½ miles)

(Rishworth Branch)

Opened Sowerby Bridge - Ripponden 1.7.1878 (Gds), 5.8.1878 (Pass)

Ripponden - Rishworth 1.3.1881 (all traffic)

Closed (Pass) 8.7.1929

(Gds) Ripponden - Rishworth Feb 1953; Sowerby Bridge - Ripponden 1.9.1958

Stations Watson’s Crossing Halt (opened 1907), Triangle (opened 1885), Ripponden & Barkisland, Rishworth.

When the L& Y submitted plans for this branch in 1865 they envisaged continuing beyond the head of Ryburn Valley, through a long tunnel under Rishworth Moor, to rejoin the existing Calder Valley line near Rochdale so reducing the distance from Sowerby Bridge to Rochdale by five miles. Difficulties in building the tunnel and landslips delayed opening until 1878 and progress with the extension west of Rishworth never got beyond the planning stage. Passenger services on this double track line were at first locomotive hauled but in 1907, Kerr Stuart motor train No 1 and trailer took over, later being replaced by a Hughes steam railcar. Services in 1929, the last year of operation, consisted of 18 journeys each way; complete closure came in 1958.

Route - when open
The branch diverged south west from the Calder Valley line at Sowerby Bridge (GR064236)
and immediately entered Scar Head tunnel. It then followed the east bank of the River Ryburn all the way to the terminus at Rishworth and on a continuous rising gradient of 1 in 107 increasing to 1 in 60 beyond Triangle.
For many years trains for Rishworth had to use the main platforms at Sowerby Bridge and reverse onto the branch but in 1907 this was rectified by constructing a separate platform.

Route - today
Both portals of Scarr Head tunnel are bricked up but the trackbed can be joined at an overbridge (GR056229)
Much of the track is designated a public walkway and the Yorkshire Group were able to trace its entire length. Scarr Head tunnel is followed by the impressive Kebroyd cutting before reaching Triangle station. The party were able to enjoy some classic railway walking along a beautifully rural branch line with marvellous views from its shelf on the valley side.

Stations - Platforms at Rishworth terminus still in situ.
Tunnels - Scarr Head 593yds both portals bricked up, tunnel mouth at Sowerby Bridge is is inside Nighfreight’s road transport depot, in July 2002 it was reported that it had been converted into a mushroom farm.
Bridges details of bridges remaining intact required.


(2½ miles)

Opened (Gds) 1.9.1874, (Pass) 1.12.1878

Closed (Pass) 23.5.1955,

(Gds) 27.6.1960 North Bridge - Holmfield; 1.4.1974 Halifax - North Bridge

Stations Halifax Old, North Bridge (opened 1880), Ovenden (opened 1881), Holmfield

Signalboxes Halifax East, North Bridge South, North Bridge North, Holmfield.

Loco shed Holmfield two-track shed (closed 1933).

Although the Halifax & Ovenden Junction Railway (H&OJR) had the backing of the GNR & L&YR, financial and construction difficulties delayed opening until 1874. The passenger service introduced four years later was to Bradford with connections at Queensbury for Keighley.

Route - when open
From the present Halifax station the line swung west over the long North Bridge viaduct to reach North Bridge station (GR094258). Climbing and clinging to the side of the valley it passed through Old Lane tunnel, crossed another viaduct and immediately entered the shorter Lea Bank tunnel. It then passed Ovenden station and in less than a mile reached Holmfield where it made a trailing connection with the Halifax High Level line and an end on junction with GNR line from Queensbury.

Route - today
After examining the site of North Bridge station beneath the double arched bridge the Yorkshire Group walked through Old Lane tunnel but found that next tunnel at Lea Bank was blocked. Ovendon station buildings were still in evidence but Holmfield’s had been obliterated.

Stations - Halifax Old - the enlarged joint L&Y/GN opened in 1885 - still open, North Bridge site still exists, Ovenden evidence of station buildings, Holmfield no trace
Goods depots - Church Street Coal Depot - coal drops listed grade ll
Bridges - North Bridge masonry viaduct 1,440ft long, 35 spans part still exists; Ovenden Viaduct survives; details of other bridges remaining intact required.
Tunnels - Old Lane tunnel 402yds walkable; Lea Bank tunnel 267yds north portal bricked up with door, south portal obliteratedby road works.
Loco shed Holmfield (SE084283) on east side of line south of Holmfield station, demolished.


(3 miles)

(Halifax High Level Railway)

Walked by 18 members of Yorkshire Group Saturday 14th March 1998

Opened (Gds) 1.7.1890 (Pass) 5.9.1890

Closed (Pass) 1.1.1917, (Gds) 27.7.1960

Stations Pellon, Halifax (St Paul’s)

The Halifax High Level & North & South Junction Railway opened in 1890 and became the Halifax High Level Railway (HHL) from 1892. It was jointly operated with the GN handling all passenger services and goods from Queensbury and the L&Y goods from Halifax. A shuttle service connected at Holmfield with trains to Halifax Old and Bradford but whereas the terminus at St Paul's was just a mile from Halifax town centre it was seven miles by rail and 350ft higher so it is not surprising that when trams were introduced in 1898 they were preferred and the passenger service was withdrawn during the first war. Occasional specials did, however, continue to run until 1939 with complete closure to all traffic coming in 1960.

Route - when open
From Holmfield station (GR083281) it diverged SW from the H&OJR and ascending initially at 1 in 35, crossed Shay Lane, entered Moorside cutting and passed through Wheetley tunnel. A shallow cutting by Greystones farm led onto Wheatley viaduct. and swinging SE on a rising gradient of 1 in 50 the line reached Wheatley goods yard where, despite repeated pleas the promised passenger station never materialised. Wood Lane was crossed by a substantial single masonry span and near Brackenbed Lane massive retaining walls around 70ft high were required. At Pellon the booking office was located on a wide overbridge and here the line turned south winding its way through deep cuttings over the final 12 miles to the St Paul's terminus station which was provided with a 376ft long and 30ft wide island platform.

Route - today
Wheatley tunnel and viaduct proved to be inaccessible but the Yorkshire Group were able to resume progress on the steep climb up to Pellon.Details of other walkable sections and obstructions required.

Stations - any trace of Pellon, or Halifax (St Paul’s) ?
Bridges - Wheatley viaduct over Hebble Brook, 10 arches, 100ft high
Details of all bridges remaining intact required
Tunnels - Wheatley tunnel 819yds both portals bricked up with doors.


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