Heritage railways

Steam and classic railway journeys in Yorkshire

The Yorkshire region has a splendid selection of preserved and steam railways. These are not only great for those delighted by a bit of nostalgia, but can be quite useful transport for days out in some of the most scenic parts of Yorkshire and allow some of the picturesque countryside to be enjoyed from the seat of a train.
Here is a selection of heritage railway lines in Yorkshire:

Goathland

North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Grosmont Pickering to Goathland, Grosmont and Whitby
A heritage railway running for 18 miles through the beautiful scenery of the North York Moors National Park. The line runs from Pickering, through Goathland, one of Yorkshire's famous TV and film locations to Grosmont with some journeys extended over the Network Rail Esk Valley line to the picturesque seaside harbour town of Whitby. The 10,000-member charitable Trust behind the railway celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017. With more than 350,000 passengers a year the North Yorkshire Moors Railway is possibly the most popular heritage railway in the world.

For details see the  North Yorkshire Moors Railway website.


Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway

Embsay, near Skipton, to Bolton Abbey station
Operates from Embsay, about 1.5 miles from Skipton, to Bolton Abbey station about a mile away from the attractive priory ruins and beauty spot beside the River Wharfe at Bolton Abbey. The railway runs trains on most days during the summer and at weekends at other times of year, except January. It also has a range of special weekend events, dining trains and footplate and signal box experience courses. Tank engines are the mainstay of steam operations on the line, but the railway also has a collection of historic diesel locomotives.

More information at the  Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway website.
Find on map:  Embsay Station

Keighley and Worth Valley Railway

Keighley Station and stations along the Worth Valley
The earliest of Yorkshire's heritage railways was made famous by the film The Railway Children. The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway has a collection of more than 30 locomotives, many of them steam locomotives, and operates the five-mile branch between Keighley, Ingrow (West), Damems, Oakworth, Haworth and Oxenhope. Passengers can change to and from the rail network's Airedale Line trains at Keighley. Add-on tickets for the K&WVR can be bought with rail tickets from any station on the rail network while the railway's station ticket offices offer a full range of tickets. The line was among the country's first preserved railways, reopening as a preservation line six years after the closure of the branch by British Railways in 1962.
Find out more at the  Keighley and Worth Valley Railway website.


The Wensleydale Railway

Leeming Bar - Bedale - Finghall - Leyburn - Redmire
A railway service into the Yorkshire Dales running from Leeming Bar, near the A1(M) towards Bedale, Finghall, Leyburn and Redmire, at the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It operates a heritage diesel service and steam on some dates. The line was extended eastwards to Northallerton West, but the effects of flooding on a bridge at the end of 2015 resulted in that section of line remaining closed to passenger services in 2018. The railway company also has aims of restoring the line westward into the National Park.

Further information at the  Wensleydale Railway website


Middleton Railway

Middleton Railway

Moor Road, Hunslet, Leeds
The world's oldest working railway is now operated by volunteers who run trains mostly at weekends. The railway was first opened as a horse-drawn colliery railway in 1758 and was the first to successfully use steam locomotives commercially in 1812. The line was not built as a passenger railway, but solely for carrying coal. Passengers can now make the journey between Moor Road station and Park Halt at the edge of the attractive woodland of Middleton Park, where there are displays about the past coal mining in the area. The line has a timetable of diesel and steam operating days and special events and the engine shed is a celebration of the numerous manufacturers, among them Hudson, Hudswell Clarke and Manning Wardle, which once made Leeds the biggest producer of railway locomotives in the country. The railway is about 2 miles south of Leeds city centre close to Junctions 5 & 6 of the M621.

More information at the  Middleton Railway website.

Elsecar Heritage Railway

Wath Road, Elsecar
The Elsecar Heritage Railway, also known as The Coalfield Line, operates mainly on Sundays and bank holidays, but also has events on other days. It is located beside Elsecar Heritage Centre and runs along a mile of restored branch line which served collieries and iron works. The railway is planning to soon extend the line by a further mile to Cortonwood. The neighbouring heritage centre is in a former ironworks and colliery workshops and houses an antique centre, craft workshops and exhibitions of the past history of the conservation village of Elsecar. Other attractions are the 1795 Newcomen Beam Engine, the only one of its kind to have been preserved in its original location. The railway is 6 miles south-south-east of Barnsley, from where it can be reached by bus on route 66 or by train to Elsecar station, from where it is a walk of about half a mile. Timetables details which vary through the year can be found on the website of the railway, which also hosts special events, open days and footplate courses.

More information at the  Elsecar Heritage Railway website.


Kirklees Light Railway

Shelley station - Kirklees Light Railway Kirklees Light Railway Park Mill Way, Clayton West, near Huddersfield
The Kirklees Light Railway is a 15-inch-gauge light railway on the trackbed of the former Clayton West branch line from the Huddersfield-Penistone-Sheffield line. The branch had survived the Beeching axe of the 1960s but eventually closed to coal traffic in 1979 and passengers from the large commuter villages of Skelmanthorpe and Clayton West in 1983. Work began to create the new 15-inch-gauge light railway from Clayton West in 1991 and was completed along the full 3.5 miles to Shelley in 1997. The line operates most weekends and on weekdays at certain times of the year. Six steam locomotives and two diesel locomotives are used on the line, some built specially for the railway while others have seen previous service at seaside railways such as the Fairbourne Railway in Wales and Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway in North East Lincolnshire. Special occasions have seen guest visits from other lines, including the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway in Sussex and the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway in Cumbria. Santa Specials operate in December. The railway is based at Clayton West where there is a cafe, play area, picnic area, miniature railway, gift shop and toilets. At the Shelley end of the line there is also a cafe, play area, picnic area and toilets. There is no interchange with the adjoining main line at KLR's Shelley station, but there is a waymarked walk to the station from Shepley, taking about 20 minutes. The KLR's intermediate stations at Skelmanthorpe and Cuckoo's Nest provide access to a good network of paths for walkers, Skelmanthorpe station being a short walk from the village.

More information at the  Kirklees Light Railway website.


North Bay Railway

Northstead Manor Gardens to Scalby Mills, Scarborough
The historic seaside minature railway in Scarborough has operated since 1931. It runs for just under a mile beside the lake of Northstead Manor Gardens and along the North Bay to Scalby Mills, near to the resort's Sea Life Sanctuary. Most journeys are operated by diesel-powered miniature images of historic mainline steam locomotives, but the railway recently acquired a real steam locomotive to operate steam special services.

More information at the  North Bay Railway website.


Yorkshire Wolds Railway

Fimber Halt, Beverley Road, Fimber, near Wetwang
The only heritage railway in the East Riding of Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Wolds Railway has ambitions to restore at least part of the former Malton and Driffield Junction Railway. In 2019 it offers cab rides and driver experiences in its diesel locomotive Sir Tatton Sykes along 100 metres of track at Fimber Halt. There is also a history exhibition in its railway carriage visitor centre and a shop. The railway is currently hoping to extend the line by laying a mile of track in the direction of Wetwang. The railway opens on Sundays from the start of April to the end of October and also has occasional running days on other days.

More information at the  Yorkshire Wolds Railway website.

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