Derwent Valley Light Railway
|Derwent Valley Light Railway|
|The Blackberry Line|
|Train shunting on the DVLR|
|Name||Derwent Valley Light Railway|
|Built by||Derwent Valley Light Railway (DVLR)|
|Original gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Operated by||Derwent Valley Light Railway Society|
|Length||1⁄2 mile (0.80 km)|
|Preserved gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Closed||27 September 1981|
|1985||Light Railway Order transferred to Murton section of line|
|1990||Great Yorkshire Preservation Society moves to Murton|
|1991||Wheldrake station obtained|
|1992||Railway converted to Sustrans cycle track between York and Osbaldwick|
|2013||DVLR marks 100 years of original full route opening|
The Derwent Valley Light Railway (DVLR) (also known as The Blackberry Line) was a privately owned standard-gauge railway in North Yorkshire, England, and was unusual in that it was never nationalised, remaining as a private operation all its life. It ran between Layerthorpe on the outskirts of York to Cliffe Common near Selby. It opened in two stages, in 1912 and 1913, and closed in sections between 1965 and 1981. Between 1977 and 1979, passenger steam trains operated between Layerthorpe and Dunnington — the entire length of track at that time. In 1993 a small section was re-opened as part of the Yorkshire Museum of Farming at Murton.
The south end of the railway, from Wheldrake to Cliffe Common, was opened on 29 October 1912, with the remainder of the line opening on 19 July 1913. Although it was constructed primarily as a freight line, passenger trains were introduced from 1913, and during the First World War it was used as a diversionary route by the North Eastern Railway between York and Selby. Passenger services ended in 1926, though freight traffic prospered through the Second World War.
In 1923, most British railway companies were grouped into four large companies, with the nearby North Eastern Railway becoming part of the London and North Eastern Railway. However, the DVLR remained independent, and continued to do so even after nationalisation in 1948. In 1964, British Railways closed the Selby to Driffield Line, meaning that the junction at Cliffe Common became redundant. With the connection to Selby now gone, the DVLR was left isolated at its southern end. The line was subsequently run from the Layerthorpe end but traffic generated by the southern section of the track was light so the decision was taken to close the line between Wheldrake and Cliffe Common in 1965. The section between Wheldrake and Elvington followed in 1968. Elvington was closed in 1973, leaving only approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) of track between Layerthorpe and Dunnington on the outskirts of York.
In 1976, the owners of the railway decided to operate steam trains between Layerthorpe and Dunnington, which was the entire length of the line at that time. A regular summer service started in 1977, with J72 0-6-0T locomotive number 69023 Joem (now preserved at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway) operating the services. By 1979, there were not enough passengers to justify continuing and the service ceased. The railway continued to carry occasional freight trains to Dunnington until 1981 when the grain driers at Dunnington closed and the last major source of freight for the line was gone. On top of that the railway was in desperate need of a major overhaul with the majority of the rails and buildings still being the 1913 originals. However, the owners decided that the lack of demand for freight failed to justify any plan of action other than to close the line down. The last train ran on 27 September 1981. In 1984 the holding company, Derwent Valley Holdings, became Derwent London, now a multi-million pound property investment and development company.
The Foss Islands Branch Line, to which the Derwent Valley Light Railway connected at Layerthorpe, was subsequently closed in 1989, and lifted in 1992.
|Derwent Valley Light Railway|
The original railway was 16 miles (26 km) long, and served the following places:
- Murton Lane
- Dunnington Halt
- Dunnington (for Kexby)
- Cliffe Common, which connected with the Selby to Driffield Line
Rolling stock 1913-1981
Initially trains were worked by locomotives owned by the North Eastern Railway (from 1923 LNER and from 1948 British Railways).
The railway purchased two railcars in the 1920s to operate a passenger service and the table below lists the stock owned by the company in the 1920s
|Rail Lorry||0-4-0||Built by The British Four-wheel Drive Tractor Lorry Super Engineering Company - trialed unsuccessfully in 1923|
|Railbus (2)||0-4-0||Ford chassis with body built by C.H.Roe of Crossgates (Leeds). Operated 1924-1926 when road bus competition saw them sold to County Donegal Railways.|
|Sentinel||0-4-0T||Works no 6076. Operated on DVLR 1925 - 1929 before being sold to Summerson and Sons of Darlington. Scrapped c1971.|
Between 1929 and 1969 the line was again worked by main line locomotives.
In 1969 the DVLR decided to buy two ex-British Rail Class 04 shunters to operate services rather than hiring in British Rail Class 03 locomotives. The table below lists the locomotives owned by the DVLR
|1 Lord Wenlock||0-6-0DM||Former BR Class 04 D2293. Purchased 1969 - sold in 1982 to Buckinghamshire Railway Centre.|
|2||0-6-0DM||Former BR Class 04 D2245. Purchased 1969 - sold in 1978 to the Shackerstone Railway|
|D2329||0-6-0DM||Former BR Class 04 bought for spares and subsequently scrapped in 1969|
|Claude Thompson||0-4-0DM||John Fowler built engine - works number 4210142 (1958) purchased from British Pipeline agency in 1978 and sold in 1982 to Buckinghamshire Railway Centre.|
|69023 Joem||0-6-0T||British Railways built locomotive of North Eastern Railway Class J72. Operated line 1977-1979 when it was sold back to the previous owner's family - In 2015 on Wensleydale Railway|
Joem was purchased to run the short lived steam train passenger operation.
The line today
Until 1990, a small preservation group, the Great Yorkshire Railway Preservation Society, was originally based at Starbeck near Harrogate. When this closed, the society members relocated to the Yorkshire Museum of Farming, and started to rebuild approximately 3⁄4 mile (1.2 km) of track towards York, including the section under the York by-pass. A new station was constructed using the original station buildings from Wheldrake, and the railway re-opened in 1993.
In 2013, York soprano Rebecca Newman, with the enthusiastic participation of DVLR staff and a cast of children and adults from the theatre company We Are Theatre, with the fixed equipment and rolling stock of the railway, and Maggi the puppy, created her version of the song Wonderful Dream (Holidays are Coming) as a charity Christmas video, on YouTube.  It was very well reviewed and by August 2015 received over 190,000 views on YouTube.
Whilst future extension of the line towards Osbaldwick may be possible, as of 2014 there are currently still no formal plans for this.
The following rolling stock is owned by the preservation group as of March 2010:
- Steam Locomotives
- Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST No. 8 built in 1955. (Under repair, boiler ticket expires in 2015)
- Diesel Locomotives
- British Rail Class 03 0-6-0 No. 03079 built in 1960. (Operational)
- Ruston & Hornsby 0-4-0 No. 327964 "British Sugar York" built in 1953. (Under repair)
- Ruston & Hornsby 4wDM No. 97088 built in 1962. (Operational)
- John Fowler & Co. 0-4-0 No. 4100005 "Churchill" built in 1947. (Stored awaiting repair)
- Ruston & Hornsby 4wDM No. 417892 "Jim" built in 1959. (Stored awaiting repairs)
- John Fowler & Co. 0-4-0 No. 4200022 built in 1948. (Stored awaiting restoration)
- North Eastern Railway 4-wheel coach No. 1214/2462 built in 1890. (Stored awaiting repair)
- B&W Engineering 4-wheel observation coach No. BW1000 "Sylvia" built in 2003. (Stored awaiting repair)
- Southern Railway 4-wheel PMV Luggage Van No. S1367S built in 1939. (Operational)
- British Railways Mk1 TSO No. E3805. (Operational, on long-term loan from NYMR)
- British Railways Standard 20-ton Brake Van No. B951144 built in 1951. (Operational)
- Metro-Cammell ZFV Dogfish Ballast Wagon No. DB993312 built in 1957. (Operational)
- British Railways 12 ton Box Van No. 775810 built in 1957. (Operational)
- London Midland and Scottish Railway Brake Van No. 295516 built in 1933. (Undergoing restoration)
- Chas Roberts Shell Mex and BP Tank Wagon No. 5081 built in 1938. (Operational)
- Coal Wagon No. B291264. (Operational)
- Great Western Railway Box Van No. W95166 built in 1915. (Operational)
- Great Central Railway 12 ton Box Van (modified) No. 539249 built in 1923. (Operational)
- London and North Eastern Railway 20 ton Plate Wagon No. 239666 built in 1940. (Operational)
- Great Central Railway Bolster Wagon No. 516537 built in 1920. (Operational)
- "Derwent Valley Light Railway to celebrate 100th anniversary". York Press. 30 May 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- "The Derwent London trend that bucks the market". Daily Telegraph. 29 August 2007.
- Stockwell, Johnathan D; Drummond, Ian (2013). Rails along the Derwent. Leeds UK: Holne Publishing. pp. 132,133. ISBN 978-0-9563317-6-2.
- Stockwell, Jonathan D; Drummond, Ian (2013). Rails along the Derwent. Leeds, UK: Holne Publishing. pp. 127–133. ISBN 978 0 9563317 6 2.
- "Welcome to the Derwent Valley Light Railway". Retrieved 24 September 2015.
- The video on YouTube
- York Press 12/12/2013
- Festive Pop 17/11.2013
- "Easy cycle rides for leisure – No. 7" (PDF). York City Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
- "History of the Derwent Valley". Derwent Valley Light Railway official website. Retrieved 25 June 2008.
Given time, hard work and the resources, the line maybe extended from its current length, but that remains to be seen[dead link]