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Skipton to Ilkley
1888 - 1965
Midland Railway
Contributors:  © Reproduction prohibited / David Taylor / Michael Kaye / Paul Holroyd / Keith Rose / David Webdale

The Route
From Skipton to Ilkley via Embsay, Bolton Abbey, & Addingham.
Opened as an extension of the Otley Ilkley line.


Original Company
Opened by the Midland Railway.

Skipton to Ilkley - 1888

Passengers - 22 March 1965
Freight - 5 July 1965
All traffic east of Embsay junction - January 1966
Haw Bank quarry sidings at Embsay station - 1969

Old Yorkshire Dales Railway
The last section to the west was a freight only branch line from Skipton to Swinden Quarry.
Called The Old Yorkshire Dales Railway & is still running.
A four mile section of the line has reopened as the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway.

Skipton station
   See also Shipley Skipton
Class 144 DMU (October 94) : Paul Holroyd    website - www.vintagecarriagestrust.org
Alexander Class 144 DMU in Regional Railways livery at Skipton, October 1994.
Class 144 DMU (October 94) : Paul Holroyd
Alexander Class 144 DMU at Skipton, October 1994. Note the maginifcently restored platform canopies.
Class 144 DMU (October 94) : Paul Holroyd
Alexander Class 144 DMU at Skipton, October 1994. View taken looking south towards Cononley.
Skipton station (October 94) : Paul Holroyd
Platform 4 of Skipton station, looking north. October 1994.
Skipton station (October 94) : Paul Holroyd
View taken from the top of the subway on platforms 3 and 4 at Skipton, showing the immaculately restored platform canopy.
Note the signalbox

Skipton to Grassington (Yorkshire Dales Railway)
Grassington (1972) : Keith Rose
Grassington Station in 1972. The Yorkshire Dales Railway was a single track branch line from Skipton via Rylstone & Threshfield to Grassington. Built & operated by the Midland railway Opened on 29th July 1902, closed to passengers 22nd September 1930.
The line remains open from Embsay Junction to Swinden Quarry near Linton for mineral traffic.

Skipton to Ingleton railway

Gargrave (c1971) : Keith Rose
Gargrave Signal Box in 1973. The "little" North Western Railway,  later taken over by the Midland Railway, opened a line from Skipton to Ingleton on 30 July 1849. Extended to Lancaster and Morecambe in 1850.

Embsay station
Embsay Station (c1971) : Keith Rose
Embsay Station in 1971.

Lob Ghyll viaduct
Lob Ghyll viaduct (27-04-07) : David Taylor
The Midland opened the Leeds & Bradford Extension Railway from Shipley to Skipton in 1847, and on from Skipton to Colne in 1848, and their line from Apperley Bridge to Ilkley opened in 1865. However Ilkley and Skipton were not connected by rail until 1888 by a reluctant MR. The line between Ilkley and Embsay Junction was closed in 1965 and in Ilkley a large girder bridge over Brook Street together with a 25 arch masonry viaduct over the town centre were demolished as was another over Addingham. Between Ilkley and the far side of Addingham virtually no evidence of the line remains but a 5 stone arch viaduct over Lob Ghyll (OK a hundred yards into North Yorkshire but definitely West Riding) near Bolton Bridge has survived although obscured by trees.

The ‘Yorkshire Dales Railway’, operated by the MR, opened between Embsay Junction and Grassington in 1902 and remains open from Embsay Junction to Swinden Quarry near Linton for mineral traffic as does the line from Embsay Jnct to Skipton.

The line between Embsay Junction and Bolton Abbey has been re-opened by the ‘Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway’ and they have run one or two trains to Swinden works. For more on the line and its few remaining relics see  http://www.embsayboltonabbeyrailway.org.uk/addilk.html 

Ilkley station
   See also Otley Ilkley   see also Cab rides
Ilkley (nd) : Michael Kaye