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RAILWAY RAMBLERS GAZETTEER OF DISUSED LINES IN WEST YORKSHIRE
Railway Ramblers     Leeds     Bradford     Calderdale     Kirklees     Wakefield

 


WAKEFIELD

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

The areas around Wigan in Greater Manchester and Wakefield in West Yorkshire must have the highest concentrations of disused railways per square mile in the country and it is interesting to note how the two Metroplolitan Councils’ are approaching the situation. Wigan would appear give it a very low priority and have done little, whereas in 1990 Wakefield appointed a Disused Railway Project Officer and in 1994 produced a 96 page report detailing their Disused Railway Strategy. In it they examined and classified virtually every closed line within their boundry including some that overlap into neighbouring districts.

 

Part 1 Hull & Barnsley Railway

 

H&BR WRANGBROOK JN - CUDWORTH STATION (9 miles)

(Hull & Barnsley Main Line)

HEMSWORTH EAST JN - HEMSWORTH SOUTH JN (: mile)

(The Hemsworth Curve)

Opened (Gds) 20.7.1885 Wrangbrook - Cudworth; 20.8.1885 Hemsworth East - South Jns

(Pass) 27.7.1885; 1904 Hemsworth East - South Jns

Closed (Pass) 1.1.1932, (Gds) 7.8.1967

Stations Upton & North Elmsall, Hemsworth & South Kirkby (opened 1891),

Cudworth H&B (closed 1905)

Loco shed Cudworth 53E eight-track shed (closed 1951).

History

The Hull & Barnsley Railway (H&BR) was promoted by the merchants and ship owners of Hull supported by the City Corporation who were dissatisfied with the rail services provided by the NER. The H&BR never reached Barnsley, the nearest it got was Cudworth and Stairfoot although boundary changes in 1921 placed these locations in Barnsley. Passenger services terminated at Cudworth but from 1905 three trains daily ran through to Sheffield; it was absorbed by the NER in 1922 and the LNER at the grouping.

Route - when open

Wrangbrook Junction was at the western end of the HBR’s main line where three lines diverged and in the early 1900s saw 130 freight trains pass through each day. The southern leg was the South Yorkshire Junction line to Denaby; the middle route was to Wath and this (main) line continued on to Cudworth.

From Wrangbrook (GR493134) the line headed west to Upton & North Elmsall, passed under the Doncaster - Wakefield road (A638) and crossed over both the Swinton & Knottingley Joint line (S&K) and the West Riding & Grimsby Joint line (WR&G); connections were laid to both these lines but that to the S&K was never used. The next station was Hemsworth & South Kirkby and a mile further the end of the long eight mile climb from near Walden Stubbs came on entering Brierley tunnel which took it under the Pontefract - Barnsley road. Emerging from the tunnel it passed Brierley Junction (where the Dearne Valley line curved away south), went under the L&Y line to Crofton and turned south to reach Cudworth. Here the H&B met the Midland and the 2¼ miles between Royston & Notton to the north & Cudworth station to the south encompassed a series of junctions, yards, exchange sidings, loco sheds and colliery branches; this was made more confusing by both companies each having two junctions with the same name. After passing Cudworth North Junction (H&B) the line headed south with the H&B goods yard and loco shed on the right and at Cudworth South Junction (H&B) the extension line to Stairfoot diverged west to cross the MR main line. At Cudworth station the H&B had their own platform connected to the main station by a long footbridge. This is a continuation of the H&B line from Barmby which appears in the York & Selby Area of the North Yorkshire section whilst the final 2¼ miles to Stairfoot can be found in the Barnsley Area of the South Yorkshire section.

Route - today

Wakefield MDC line 18

From Wrangbrook Junction the trackbed is used as a footpath and at the end of Tom Wood Ash Lane it becomes a cycleway (with a pedestrian underpass taking under the busy A638) to a point just east of the Sheffield - York (S&K) line and continues walkable over that line as far as the WR&G line. Between Kirkby Road (B6422) and the eastern portal of Brierley tunnel it has been used for the construction of Hemsworth bypass (A628) with a cycle track alongside. Most of the line west of the tunnel is waterlogged but the top of the cutting is walkable. A footpath reportedly follows line from the western portal to Gander Bridge, Sandybridge Lane in Shafton (GR386117) and for much of the next 1½ miles to the site Cudworth South Junction (H&B). The Hemsworth Curve has completely disappeared.

Further detailed information required

Relics

Stations - Upton & North Elmsall platform edge survives, Hemsworth & South Kirkby station demolished but station house survives, nothing remains at Cudworth except a stone (H&B?) water tower.

Bridges Lattice girder bridge over MR main line demolished; bridge over S&K line reinstated for disposal of opencast colliery waste.

Details of other bridges intact/demolished required.

Tunnels - Brierley tunnel 685yds eastern portal obliterated by Hemsworth bypass.

Loco shed - Cudworth (SE367107) on west side of Normaton line north of Cudworth Goods Junction, demolished 1962.

 

2

Part 2 Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway

L&YR METHLEY JN - CUTSYKE JN (CASTLEFORD) (1mile1461yds)

Walked by members of the Yorkshire Group Sunday 19th June 1994

Ralph Rawlinson Thursday 29th April 1999

Opened 1.12.1849

Closed (Pass) 7.10.1968, (Gds) 23.2.1981

Stations Methley Junction (closed 1943); Castleford, renamed Castleford Cutsyke 1952

Signal boxes Methley Junction (Mid), Methley Station, Lofthouse Junction, Whitwood Junction, Castleford (L&Y), Cutsyke Junction,

History

The village of Methley, which was to have three stations, played a critical role in the inter-company rivalries of the 1840’s when the Midland attempted to prevent the GNR gaining access to Leeds over L&Y metals. This short section of line was part of the Wakefield, Pontefract & Goole Railway and was opened by the L&YR in 1849. It was closed in 1981 but the remaining section to the south is still open. As mentioned above Sustrans now own the line between Bottom Boat and Cutsyke.

Route - when open

The line diverged from the Midland’s Leeds - Normanton line at Methley Junction (GR395261) and headed SE joining the Methley Joint line at Lofthouse Junction. It then bridged the River Calder and the NER’s line to York and after a further mile joined the NER line from Castleford at Cutsyke Junction (GR423244).

Route - today

The first quarter mile of this line from Methley Junction has been built over by housing but a good path can be picked up just on the Methley Joint line just south of Methley South station (GR397257) and can be followed over the site of Lofthouse Junction and across the L&Y’s Calder viaduct to Whitwood Junction where the missing bridge over the in use line to Castleford involves a fairly long detour via the A639. Where this road crosses the Castleford line a path leads off to the right to rejointhe L&Y line which is in a cutting for the next mile. The walkable section ends at Aketon Road underbridge the site of Cutsyke station. Before Sustrans can make a through route from Bottom Boat to Cutsyke they will need find some way of crossing the Leeds - Castleford line at Whitwood Junction.

Relics

Stations - Methley Junction no trace; Castleford Cutsyke one concrete platform remains.

Bridges - three-arch stone viaduct over River Calder at Methley intact and walkable; bridge over ex NE Normanton - York line demolished; Lumley Hill (A639) and Lumley Street (A635) overbridges intact; Aketon Road (B6421) underbridge intact but sealed off.

 

 

L&YR CRIGGLESTONE JN - HORBURY STATION JN (1 mile1187yds)

(Horbury West Curve)

Opened (Gds) 2.3.1902, (Pass) 1.7.1902

Closed (Pass) 11.9.1961, (Gds) 4.2.1991

Stations None

Signalboxes Crigglestone Junction, Horbury & Ossett Station

History

The L&Y opened thus chord line to connect its Wakefield - Barnsley and Thornhill lines. It was little used by passenger traffic after 1939 although the official closure date wasn’t until 1961.

Route - when open

At Crigglestone Junction (GR302158) the curve diverged NW from the Barnsley - Wakefield line crossed over the A636 and theCaphouse Railway, under the MR Crigglestone viaduct, over the Horbury New Cut of the Calder & Hebble Navigation and finally bridged the River Calder before joining the line to Thornhill at Horbury station.

Route - today

The track was, until recently, still in situ throughout.

Relics

Bridges - all bridges intact

Tunnels - Horbury Chord 40yds both portals open and walkable, short section of single line still in situ.

 

 

L&YR SHAFTON JN - CROFTON WEST JN (5¾ miles)

CROFT EAST CURVE (896yds)

(Dearne Valley Junction Railway)

Opened (Gds) 6.3.1905; (Pass) 3.6.1912

Closed (Pass) 10.9.1951, (Gds) 11.7.1966

Stations Shafton Junction (Miners), Ryhill Halt

Signal boxes Shafton Junction, Crofton Hall Sidings, Crofton South Junction, Crofton West Junction, Crofton East Junction

History

The Dearne Valley Junction Railway (DVJR) was built by the L&YR to connect it with the Dearne Valley Railway which it had agreed to work and had opened from Houghton Main three years earlier. It was single line but later doubled. In 1912 the L&Y introduced a railmotor passenger service between Wakefield Kirkgate and Edlington Halt (near Doncaster).

In 1966 BR installed new spurs to the Midland main line near Grimethorpe colliery allowing traffic to be re-routed and all of this line to be closed.

3

Route - when open

From Shafton Junction (GR397110), the Dearne Valley Railway turned east to connect with the Hull & Barnsley at Brierley Junction, whilst the DVJR continued north, passed over the H&B and started to climb at 1 in 100 to reach Ryhill Halt and the summit of the line. The final four miles were down a similar gradient passing under Back Lane, over the GC extension line from Barnsley, the WR&GR Doncaster - Leeds line and through Crofton Hall marshalling yard to connect with the Pontefract - Wakefield line at Crofton East and West Junctions.

Route - today

The trackbed can be followed north from Shafton Junction (GR396111) to the point where the bridge over the Doncaster - Wakefield main line has been removed. North of the electrified line the section to Shay Lane, including the site of Crofton marshalling yard, has been reclaimed and is now mainly in use as a public open space. The route has also been identified as part of the northern link to the Trans Pennine Trail.

Further information showing exactly which sections are walkable required.

Relics

Stations - no trace of either halt

Bridges - lengthy girder bridge over H&B removed, bridge at Felkirk nearly filled in; all bridges north of Havercroft inc. Hare Park bridge over Doncaster - Wakefield line removed

 

Part 3 Midland Railway

 

MR CUDWORTH NORTH JN - GOOSE HILL JN (NORMANTON) (9 miles)

(Midland Main Line)

Opened 1.7.1840

Closed (Pass) 7.10.1968, reopened 7.5.1973, closed 31.8.1985

(Gds) OOU Cudworth North Jn - Oakenshaw North Jn; 1.6.1887 Oakenshaw North Jn - Goose Hill Jn; 6.6.1998 Royston Jn - Royston Drift Mine

Stations Royston & Notton (2nd closed Jan 1968), Royston (1st closed 1900), Sandal & Walton r/n Walton* (closed 1961), Wakefield r/n Oakenshaw 1841 (closed 1870),

* this station opened in 1870 to replace Oakenshaw

Signal boxes Cudworth North Junction, Carlton Main Sidings, Carlton North Sidings, Royston & Notton, Hodroyd’s & Monckton Main Sidings, Royston Junction, Sandal & Walton, West Riding Junction, Oakenshaw South Junction, Oakenshaw North Junction, Snydale, St John’s Colliery Sidings, Goose Hill Junction

Loco shed Royston 20C ten-track shed (closed 1967 steam, 1971 completely)

History

The North Midland opened their main line from Derby to Leeds throughout in 1840 and later quadrupled the eighteen miles between Rotherham and Chevett Junction (north of Royston). Traffic was so heavy that by 1925 the LMS had to open out the 684-yard Chevett tunnel into a 100ft deep cutting so that a further four miles to Snydale Junction could also be quadrupled. In addition to local passenger services it was also used by St Pancras - Leeds/Bradford and cross country expresses; named trains included the Thames-Clyde Express, the Waverley and the Devonian. This section of the Midland main line had always been troubled by mining subsidence and between 1968 and 1973 it was decided to divert passengers trains via Moorthorpe and South Kirkby Jn. Twelve years later the seventeen miles between Wath Road and Goose Hill were permanently closed to passenger traffic and from 1987 only the central section was retained to serve various industrial locations. With the closure of Grimethorpe colliery the line was cut back to Cudworth North Junction serving only Redfearns’ National Glass Works at Monk Bretton but even that traffic ended in 1996 and it was assumed that complete closure of the last remaining section Cudworth North Jn - Oakenshaw South Jn would follow. Sand traffic, however, resumed in August 1999 and it now sees a train every Tuesday from Middleton Towers (Kings Lynn). In addition from March 2001 Virgins’ new Cross Country fleet (Voyager and Super Voyager) are undergoing shake-down commissioning trials on this line with a newly constructed depot on the nearby former Crofton civil engineering yard.

Reopening Proposal

Railtrack’s 1999 NMS indicated that-long term capacity requirements would include the creation of a third major route between London and Scotland which would involve the reopening of this section of the ex-MR line.

Route - when open

From Cudworth North Junction (GR380089) one mile north of Cudworth station, the tracks went under Ings bridge carrying the H&B extension to Stairfoot and passed Carlton Main colliery on the left. The vast Carlton sidings were on the right with the H&B yard and loco shed beyond. After a further mile Royston shed could be seen on the right but at a lower level with Royston & Notton station immediately to the north. From there it turned NW alongside the Barnsley Branch of the Aire & Calder Navigation and a mile further at Royston Junction (where the Middlestown Branch diverged west) it passed under the GC line to Nostell Junction and over the canal. After passing over Chevet viaduct and through Chevet tunnel it reached Sandal & Walton station beyond which a short spur connected to the WR&GR Doncaster - Leeds main line. It then bridged the WR&GR line and the canal where a second spur led to the L&Y from Wakefield which was then crossed to reach Oakenshaw station. At Oakenshaw North Junction, where it passed under Doncaster Road (A638), a further spur (opened by the LMS in 1928) diverged east to join the L&Y line at Crofton East Junction whilst the MR continued NE passing Snydale Junction (see Snydale branch below), went under Black Road A655 and joined the L&Y line from Wakefield at Goose Hill Junction.

 

4

Route - today

Wakefield MDC line 10

Apart from a long loop at the Cudworth end it is now single track all the way to the commencement of double track at Oakenshaw South Junction. At Royston Junction there is a set of points leading to buffer stops on the branch to the closed Royston Drift mine. At Oakenshaw North Junction† the double track diverges east along the spur (installed by the LMS in 1928) to Crofton East Junction whilst the former main line, now trackless, continues north. Most of the remaining two miles to Goose Hill Junction are in cutting but the point where the Snydale Branch diverged can be seen. It was reported in 1994 that although Wakefield MDC wished to acquire the line for recreational purposes Railtrack was unwilling to dispose of the route.

† At Oakenshaw North Junction the traditional signal box is unusual in that it is open 24 hours but sees only one train a week - it contains the panel for other sections remote from the ‘box.

Relics

Stations - ? any trace of Royston & Notton, there are railway cottages at Royston (1st), a private residence has been built on the site of Walton; Oakenshaw site now occupied by a small holding

Bridges - Ings viaduct a long girder bridge carrying the H&B extension from Cudworth - Stairfoot and the imposing viaduct carrying the GCR Barnsley Coal Railway extension at Royston demolished; Notton Bridge carrying Notton Lane at Notton Junction listed grade ll; most other bridges intact

Tunnels - Chevet tunnel 684yds opened out 1923/25.

Loco shed - Royston (SE375113) on east side of line south of Royston & Notton station - demolished 1976.

 

 

MR ROYSTON JN - THORNHILL MIDLAND JN (8 miles)

(Middlestown Branch)

Opened (Gds) 3.7.1905 Royston Jn - Crigglestone East; 10.11.1905 Crigglestone - Thornhill Jn

(Pass) 1.7.1909

Closed (Pass) 1.1.1917, reopened 3.5.1920, closed 1946, reopened 4.1.1960, closed 13.6.1960

(Gds) Aug. 1968 Royston Jn - Crigglestone East; 4.5.1968 Crigglestone East - Thornhill Jn

Stations Crigglestone East goods (closed 1964), Middlestown goods (closed 1937)

Signal boxes Royston Junction, Crigglestone, Middlestown Station, Middlestown Junction, Thornhill Midland Junction

History

This branch was originally going to be the Midland’s alternative main line to Bradford and Scotland reducing by six miles the route via Leeds. They later decided it was going be too expensive and it ended up as a dead-end goods branch to Dewsbury (see under Kirklees) with a connection at Middlestown Junction to the L&Y line. Express passenger trains using this route included a Bradford - Sheffield express from 1909 - 1946, the Bradford - St Pancras Yorkshireman in the 1920/30s and summer dated trains until 1967. The final section of line closed in August 1968 and track had been lifted by the end the following year.

The goods stations at Crigglestone and Middlestown were originally planned as passenger stations.

Route - when open

The line diverged NW from the Midland main line at Royston Junction (GR377132), passed under the Wakefield - Barnsley road (A61), went through Crigglestone tunnel and passed over the 21 arch Crigglestone viaduct bridging the Wakefield - Barnsley line, the A636, two colliery lines and Horbury West Curve. It then followed the River Calder and the Calder & Aire Navigation to Middlestown Junction where the Dewsbury line continued west while this line diverged north (with the down line passing under the Dewsbury line) to connect with the L&Y at Thornhill Junction.

Route - today

Wakefield MDC line 17

The line is walkable from Royston Junction (Notton Bridge GR367132) to Chevet Lane (B6132) whilst the next 11 miles is an excellent walk along the Chevet Permissive Bridleway to Newmillerdam Country Park (east of Barnsley Road the A61). The site of Crigglestone East station is now a Golf club and further west a half mile stretch of line either side of Balk Lane together with the three arch bridge has disappeared under landfill. At GR283175 Middlestown station and cutting have also been filled in but much of the rest of the route is still clear including the connection across the valley to Thornhill.

Further information required indicating exactly which sections are walkable.

Relics

Stations - Crigglestone East goods site now a golf club, Middlestown goods no trace

Bridges - Crigglestone viaduct 1,270ft 21 arches and Horbury viaduct, both intact

Further information showing exactly which bridges are intact required.

Tunnels - Crigglestone tunnel 250yds SE portal bricked up, NW portal open.

Misc. - post of goods yard crane at Crigglestone still sticks out of the fairway on the golf course!

 

 

MR SNYDALE JN - DON PEDRO JN (Goods only single line 2 miles with extensions)

(Snydale Branch)

Opened 1.6.1885

Closed Featherstone col bch c 1931; Don Pedro col c 1953; Snydale Jn - Sharlaston col 12.8.1968

Stations none

Signal box Snydale

History

The Midland opened this branch in 1885 to gain access to Sharlston, Don Pedro, Featherstone Main and Ackton Hall collieries in the area between Normanton, Castleford and Pontefract. In 1897 locals request for a passenger service was turned down.

5

Route - when open

The branch left the Midland main line at Snydale Junction (GR368199) and headed NE to Sharlston colliery where there was a colliery connection line to the L&Y Wakefield - Pontefract line. After two miles the line split with a northern branch going on to Don Pedro colliery and an eastern branch serving Featherstone Main and Ackton Hall collieries with, once again colliery lines connecting to the L&Y line.

Route - today

Wakefield MDC lines 11 & 12

A footpath follows the trackbed from Snydale Junction to New Sharlaston. From there the cutting has been used for tipping and beyond Sharlaston colliery the formation has been completely removed.

The railway embankment is still in situ from Don Pedro Junction to Havertop Lane and a footpath starts just north of Church Lane but the Normanton bypass opened in 1999 now takes this route route and continues through the site of Don Pedro colliery.

On the branch to Featherstone colliery the section from Don Pedro Junction to the Cross Keys public house in New Road has been completely removed/opencasted but a footpath follows it eastwards from there to Commonside Lane. The site of Featherstone Main colliery has been reclaimed and is now part woodland part industrial estate.

Relics

Bridges - most bridges removed

Further information showing exactly which bridges are intact required.

 

Part 4 Great Northern Railway

 

GNR WEST RIDING JN - SANDAL JN (WAKEFIELD) (¾ miles)

(Sandal Curve)

Opened (Gds) 1.9.1866, (Pass) 1.8.1868

Closed (Pass) 1.1.1917, (Gds) c1938

Stations no passenger stations

History

This short spur connected two main lines to Leeds: the Midlands’ line from Sheffield and the West Riding & Grimsby Joint line from Doncaster. The Midland introduced a Barnsley Court House - Wakefield Westgate service in direct competition with the L&Ys Barnsley Exchange - Wakefield Kirkgate route.

Route - when open

It diverged north from the Midland main line just north of Sandal & Walton station at West Riding Junction* (GR356186), bridged Oakenshaw Lane and then curved NW to run on an embankment gradually loosing height alongside the GN line for half a mile before joining it at Sandal Junction.

* On some maps West Riding Junction is incorrectly referred to as Oakenshaw Junction which is, in fact, one mile to the north on the L&Y on another spur from the Midland at Oakenshaw South Junction.

Route - today

Wakefield MDC line 13

The formation is a now a walkway forming part of Wakefields’ Capital Line project

Relics

Bridges - Oakenshaw Lane intact

 

Part 5 Great Central Railway

 

GCR LEE LANE - NOSTELL NORTH JN (4½ miles)

(Barnsley Coal Railway Extension)

WINTERSET JN - NOSTELL SOUTH JN (1 mile)

NOTTON & ROYSTON - ROYSTON JN (: mile)

(Royston Curve)

APPLEHAIGH BRANCH (: mile)

Opened (Gds) 1.8.1882, Applehaigh branch 28.1.1870

(Pass) 1.9.1882 inc Royston Curve.

Closed (Pass) 22.9.1930, (Gds) 31.7.1961; Royston Curve 1897; Applehaigh branch 1881

Stations Lee Lane (closed ?); Notton renamed Notton & Royston 1896; Ryhill, renamed Wintersett & Ryhill 1927, Wintersett 1951

Signal boxes Lee Lane Crossing, Notton & Royston, Monckton Main, Ryhill, Wintersett Junction, Nostell North Junction. Nostell South Junction.

History

The independent Barnsley Coal Railway was incorporated in 1861 and two years later was absorbed by the South Yorkshire Railway and River Don Navigation which in 1874 was vested in the Manchester Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR). It ran from Barnsley to a junction with the Doncaster - Leeds line at Nostell. The first section from Stairfoot to Applehaigh opened for goods traffic in 1870 (see under South Yorkshire) but objections from the Woolley Estate delayed completion of the extension to Nostell for 12 years. The passenger service introduced in 1882 ran from Barnsley Court House to Leeds Central but it only lasted until 1930 and the line closed to all traffic in 1961.

 

6

Route - when open

From the level crossing at Lee Lane the line swung NE to Notton & Royston and at Notton Bridge (GR367129) crossed the Barnsley branch of the Aire & Calder Navigation and the Midland main line. After a further mile it reached Ryhill, passed the large canal reservoirs on the left and went under the Dearne Valley Junction Railway to reach the triangular junction at Nostell. The Applehaigh branch left the line immediately south of Lee Lane and served Applehaigh quarries.

Route - today

Wakefield MDC line no 15

The whole of the formation is extant and walkable except the section in the vicinity of Ellis Laithe and five bridges which have been removed.

Relics

Stations - no trace of Notton & Royston but the upside platform at Wintersett & Ryhill partially survives

Bridges - five bridges (including the imposing viaduct over the Midland main line) removed; details of other bridges intact/demolished required.

 

Part 6 North Eastern Railway

 

NER WHITWOOD BRANCH JN - WHITWOOD (CASTLEFORD) (single goods line 1 mile)

(Whitwood Mere Branch)

Opened by 1870

Closed 1.3.1980

Stations no passenger stations

History

The NER opened this short single track branch to serve the Laporte Acids plant and other works in the Whitwood Mere district of Castleford

Route - when open

The line diverged NE from the Normanton - York line east of Jin-Whin Hill A639 (GR412253), crossed Methley Road over a skew bridge and ended at the Laporte wharf on the River Calder.

Route - today

Wakefield NDC line 4

The section between Whitwood Branch Junction and Methley Road has been landscaped and is walkable. The remaining section is occupied by industrial units

Relics

Bridges - Skew viaduct over Methley Road demolished

 

Part 7 Joint Lines

MJR LOFTHOUSE NORTH JN - METHLEY JOINT JN (5 miles)

LOFTHOUSE SOUTH CURVE (3 mile)

METHLEY SOUTH - METHLEY JOINT JN (3 mile)

(Methley Joint Railway)

Opened (Gds) June 1865

(Pass) 1.5.1869 Lofthouse North Jn - Methley Joint Jn; Lofthouse South Curve 1.5.1876

Closed (Pass) 17.6.1957 Lofthouse South Curve; 2.11.1964 Lofthouse North Jn - Methley Joint Jn

(Gds) 5.4.1965 Lofthouse North & South Jns - Jn with Newmarket Branch;

23.2.1981 - Jn with Newmarket Branch - Lofthouse Jn (Methley)

Stations Lofthouse Joint, renamed Lofthouse & Outwood 1888 (closed 1957), Stanley, Methley renamed Methley South 1951 (closed 1960

History

As industry grew in the mid-19th century owners stepped up pressure for better links to their customers and the Humber ports. One result was that the GN, L&Y and NER joined forces to build a line from Lofthouse North Jn - Lofthouse Jn (Methley) which linked up several routes at both ends. It was one of three routes carrying passenger trains between Leeds and Castleford. In 1998 ownership of the 4½ miles from Bottom Boat - Castleford Cutsyke (see below) passed to Sustrans

route - when open

Curves from Lofthouse North (SE324247) and South, on the GNRs Doncaster - Leeds main line, formed a triangular junction with Lofthouse East. Great Northern and Joint stations at Lofthouse were adjacent and from there the line headed east passing under the A6 and after two miles reaching Stanley station with a level crossing over Aberford Road. For the next three miles it kept north of the meandering River Calder to join the Pontefract line at the complex junctions at Methley.

 

 

7

Route - today

The Lofthouse Colliery Reclamation Scheme has resulted in the triangular junction becoming a large public open space but the course of the south curve can be followed to Povens Lane. Housing occupies the short section on towards Leeds Road (A61) but a footpath about 100yds to the north can be followed to the filled-in Leeds Road bridge. A good path takes you to Baker Lane (where the Nagger Line footpath referred to below, can be seen heading downhill) and continues through Naggers Neighbourhood Park. Gainsborough Way now occupies the alignment for a quarter of a mile and just before the end a detour north to Canal Lane is necessary. The cutting east of Mount Road has been infilled and grassed over with further housing up to and including the site of Stanley station and level crossing. East of Aberford Road (A642) the line is walkable through to Lofthouse Junction (Methley). On this section all the underbridges as far as the M62 have been removed and there is now no trace of the network of colliery lines that joined this line or passed under to reach the River Aire at Foxholes and Low Bottom Boat. In April 1999 dumper trucks were removing spoil from an old coal tip to the south of this line and transferring it to a vast area to the north for screening. A short concrete lined tunnel takes the trackbed under the motorway and all underbridges to the east (except the ones over the in use ex-MR and NE lines south of Methley Junction) are intact. A detour along Embleton Road, sharp right after Pinder Green bridge (passing the closed Methley Junction signal box) and through a new housing estate takes you to the site of Methley Junction station (L&Y) with only the overbridge to pinpoint its location. Following the lane over this bridge brings you to the adjacent Methley South station (MJR) where the Old Station House and possibly what was the signal box are intact. There is no trace of the short spur that curved away SE from Methley South station to join the NER line at Methley Joint Junction.

Relics

Stations - Lofthouse station on the GN line was reopened in 1988 and renamed Outwood; no trace of Lofthouse Joint or Stanley; Methley South station buildings now a residence but without platforms.

Bridges - Provens Lane, A64, Long Causeway and Mount Road overbridges filled in; Baker Lane underbridge removed and landscaped; bridges over MR and L&Y lines at Methley demolished.

 

 

MR & NER JT SOUTH ELMSALL JN - MOORTHORPE NORTH JN (1¼ miles)

(South Elmsall North Curve)

Opened (Gds) 19.5.1879, (Pass) 1.7.1879

Closed (Pass 1.1.1917, (Gds) Feb 1928

Stations none

History

When the Swinton & Knottingley Joint line (S&K) was opened it included two connections to the West Riding & Goole Joint line (WR&G) where they crossed at Moorthorpe. Both these lines are still open but the north to east spur (the longer of the two) closed in 1928, it carried Doncaster - York locals and some Kings Cross - Harrogate expresses. The west to south spur is still used by Sheffield - Leeds expresses.

Route - when open

From the junction at South Elmsall the spur paralleled the WR&G line for one mile and then curved NW to connect with the S&K line just north of the point where it bridged the WR&G (GR457118).

Route - today

Wakefield MDC Line No. 20

The whole of this line is walkable and forms part of the Capital Line Project. It is also included in Railtrack’s NMS for reinstatement to relieve the ECML of freight congestion.

Relics

Bridges details of bridges intact/demolished required.

 

 

MR&NER JT PONTEFRACT STATION JN - PONTEFRACT EAST JN (1455yds)

(Pontefract Loop)

Opened (Gds) 19.5.1879, (Pass) 1.7.1879

Closed (Pass) 1.11.1926, reopened 4.1.1960; (all traffic) 2.11.1964

Stations Pontefract Monkhill, Pontefract Baghill

Signal boxes Pontefract Junction (S&K), Pontefract East (L&Y)

History

Soon after the Swinton & Knottingley (S&K) line opened a connection was provided that linked the two stations in Pontefract viz. the S&Ks Baghill to the L&Ys Monkhill. It was used by a variety of passengers services and in 1959 was completely relayed and resignalled only to be closed five years later.

Route - when open

From Baghill station (GR460219) the branch headed NE alongside the line to Ferrybridge for 1 mile then curved through 180°, crossing the imposing viaduct over Bondgate (A645) and finally headed SW to reach Monkhill station.

Route - today

Wakefield MDC line 6

The formation is still in situ north of Bondgate but to the south it has been removed and built over.

Relics

Stations - Both these Pontefract stations are still open

Bridges - The stone-arched viaduct over Bondgate is intact but heavily wooded.

 

8

Part 8 Light Railways

 

BLR BRACKENHILL JN - HEMSWORTH COLLIEY (goods only single line 3¼ miles)

(Brackenhill Light Railway)

Opened 1.7.1914

Closed 1.1.1962

Stations Ackworth Moor Top (goods)

Loco shed None - serviced from Selby shed (York from 1959).

History

Authorised in 1901 it was 1914 before the Brackenhill Light Railway (BLR) opened this standard gauge line. It ran from Brackenhill Jn on the Sheffield - York line (Swinton & Knottingley Joint) to Hemsworth Colliery (with a short spur to Ackworth Moor Top). It never carried a passenger service although it saw occasional holiday excursions. The NER worked the line but to avoid requiring the sanction of the Board of Trade this was never formalised. It was absorbed by the LNER at the grouping and survived into BR days, closing at the end of 1961.

Route - when open

The line diverged west from Brackenhill Junction (GR452163) passed under the A628 and skirted the north of Ackworth Moor Top. Turning SW it passed under the A638 and just before reaching the Doncaster - Leeds line (West Riding & Grimsby Joint) curved west through 180° to reach Hemsworth Colliery.

Route - today

The first mile from Brackenhill Jn to Cherry Tree farm is used by railway maintenance road vehicles with the next 1 mile to Mill Lane occupied by housing. The section between Mill Lane and Kinsley Common has been converted into a cycleway The Tom Dando Way.

Relics

Bridges - bridges under Barnsley Road (A628) and Wakefield Road (A638) intact

 

 

Part 9 Industrial Railways

 

FLOCKTON SIDINGS - CAPHOUSE COLLIERY (approx 4½ miles)

HORBURY CUT STAITHES - BRITISH OAK (approx. 1 mile)

(Caphouse Railway)

Opened 1854

Closed 1941 Caphouse colliery - British Oak; 1990 British Oak - Horbury Cut; 1993 British Oak - Flockton Sidings.

Stations no passenger stations

History

Coal had been worked in the Flockton area SW of Wakefield as early as the 14th century and in the late 18th early 19th centuries a great number of waggonways were built to take coal down to the Calder & Hebble Navigation. The Caphouse Railway was built by Sir John Lister Kaye to transport coal from Caphouse, Hope, Prince of Wales (later Denby Grange) and Victoria Collieries to the canal and the L&Y line at Flockton Junction. It had an unusual route (incorporating double reverse shunts, possibly unique in this country) on a steeply graded route to avoid land controlled by rival mining interests. A wagon from Caphouse had to be reversed five times before it reached the canal or the main line. It proved very expensive to operate and once a road was built to Prince of Wales colliery the line was cut back to the British Oak loading point where, prior to closure coal was arriving by road from Northumberland/Durham to be loaded into rail wagons and taken half a mile to the canal staithes (299170) where it was tipped into barges for the 14 mile journey to Ferrybridge power station.

Mining Museum

Caphouse colliery closed in 1985 and now houses the National Coal Mining Museum. A new 2ft 6ins-gauge railway, running for 500yds from the main reception building to the Hope Pit site, was opened on August 6th 2003. A future extension is planned going under the A642 and utilsing the trackbed of the standard gauge line.

Route - when open

The line used a mixture of steam locomotives and rope incline haulage on different sections with strict limits on the number of wagons travelling within each section. It left the L&Ys’ Wakefield - Barnsley line at Flockton Siding (GR303169 mid-way between Crigglestone Jn and Horbury Jn), headed SW alongside Denby Dale Road (A636), passed under the Middlestown branch and made a trailing connection with the branch to the Calder & Hebble Navigation. It then passed under Horbury West Curve, with the later British Oak opencast colliery on the right and climbing followed Blacker Beck passing through four reversing necks to reach Victoria Pit at Little London; here steam locos were detached. The wagons were then hauled through a half mile tunnel up an incline to No 2 winding engine house from where they descended to the later Prince of Wales pit. From this point they were hauled up a further incline to No 1 engine house then lowered down the other side through a shallow cutting, over an embankment, through a deep cutting and a tunnel under Wakefield Road (A642). After reversing direction wagons arrived at Hope Pit yard from where steam locos were attached to complete the last stage to Caphouse colliery.

 

9

Route - today

All that remains of the former connection from the main line at Flockton Sidings is a short trailing siding dropping away 50yds to a buffer stop. From the British Oak loading point (297162) the BLS party followed Blacker Beck to a mound at a dismantled pit (284156); next came two double zigzags leading to an enormous embankment partly laid out as a picnic site. The concrete capping of a wide bridge beneath Starr Lane was clearly visible but the adjacent tunnel under Stocksmoor Road (B6117) could not be found. Next came the top of the incline at Stocks Moor Farm (275153) where wagons were wound up through Prince of Wales colliery from the dip at Dial Wood; this was also close to the point (262156) where the Flockton wagonway passed below in tunnel.

From here a self-acting incline lifted wagons up (what is today the approach road to the New Hall Detention Centre) to the summit (253158). They then walked along a clearly defined bank leading to the chimney and foundations of the engine house at the top of No 1 incline and passed under Wakefield Road (A642) to the site of Hope Pit (248163).

Relics

Tunnels - Dial Wood tunnel much remains intact, one end filled in. This tunnel built about 1790 is reputed to be the oldest in Yorkshire. No trace of the tunnel under Stocksmoor Road.

 

 

LOFTHOUSE GATE - STANLEY FERRY (3ft 4ins-gauge single line 1½ miles)

(The Nagger Line)

Opened 1840

Closed 1930

Stations no passenger stations

History

The narrow gauge Lake Rock Railway (opened about 1780) ran from pits near East Ardsley to Lake Rock and Bottom Boat on the River Calder. The middle section of this line followed a course parallel to and just north of the later Methley Railway (see page 8). The Aire & Calder Navigation or Stanley Railway was the same gauge but opened much later.

Route - when open

The Stanley Railway diverged from the Lake Rock line at Lofthouse Gate (GR336246) and headed SE with a level crossing taking the line over Aberford Road (A642) at Stanley. It ended at Stanley Ferry Basin and Wharf; a strategic point where the Calder Cut of the Aire and Calder Navigation crossed the River Calder.

Route - today

Sections of this line were improved under Wakefield MDC’s reclamation programme in 1981 and now form useful corridors within recent housing development.

Relics

Bridges - details of bridges intact/demolished required.
 


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