Kirklees Light Railway

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Kirklees Light Railway
KirkleesLightRailwayClaytonWest.jpg
Fox at Clayton West station
Locale West Yorkshire, England
Terminus Clayton West
Coordinates 53°35′49″N 1°36′43″W / 53.597°N 1.612°W / 53.597; -1.612Coordinates: 53°35′49″N 1°36′43″W / 53.597°N 1.612°W / 53.597; -1.612
Commercial operations
Name Clayton West branch
Built by Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
Original gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Preserved operations
Length 3 12 miles (5.6 km)
Preserved gauge 15 in (381 mm)
1 September 1879 opened
24 January 1983 closed
Preservation history
19 October 1991 opened
26 December 1992 extended to Skelmanthorpe
May 1997 extended to Shelley Woodhouse
KLR Adult return ticket

The Kirklees Light Railway is a 3 12-mile (5.6 km) long 15 in (381 mm) gauge minimum gauge railway in Kirklees metropolitan borough, West Yorkshire, Northern England.

First opened on 19 October 1991, the KLR runs along the trackbed of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway's now long closed/former branch line, from the village of Clayton West via Skelmanthorpe to the village Shelley Woodhouse (a few yards close to the former Clayton West Junction just half-a-mile, near Shepley) on the Penistone Line from Huddersfield to Sheffield, (via Penistone and Barnsley).

History[edit]

The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway opened their branch line from Clayton West Junction to Clayton West on 1 September 1879. The branch line was built with bridges, tunnels and earthworks suitable for a double line, but only one line was ever laid.

The line survived the Beeching cuts (in large part thanks to the mineral traffic generated by the collieries at the terminus and at Skelmanthorpe, in-between) but was sadly not adopted by the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive unlike nearly all other passenger lines in West Yorkshire[1] and was closed on 24 January 1983.

Construction of the minimum gauge railway started in mid-summer 1990, following a joint application for a Light Railway Order between Kirklees Council and the Kirklees Light Railway Company on 22 February 1989. Construction was aided significantly by the amount of redundant materials available from a number of collieries in the area which were slowly beginning to end their mining operations. The Light Railway Order was finally granted on 27 September 1991.

The line was originally 1 mile (1.6 km) in length running from Clayton West station to a specially constructed halt called Cuckoos Nest. This name is historic to 15 inch gauge railways as a station on the Eaton Hall Railway, near Chester, built by Sir Arthur Heywood bore the name. Trains to Cuckoo's Nest commenced running on Saturday 19 October 1991. The KLR was later extended to Skelmanthorpe in 1992 and again to a station at Shelley in 1996/7 with a grant from ERDF for the regeneration of coal mining areas.

The journey gives fine views of the Grade II listed Emley Moor Radio Mast, passes through the ancient woodland of Blacker Wood which is mentioned in the Domesday Book and includes a trip through the 511 yards (467 m) long Shelley Woodhouse Tunnel,[2] the longest tunnel on any 15 in (381 mm) gauge line in Britain.

Stations of the KLR[edit]

Locomotives[edit]

All the locomotives used on the railway were built by the railways founder Brian Taylor. They have all benefited from the application of modern steam principles advocated by Livio Dante Porta. These modifications have improved the locomotives performance, reliability and efficiency.

Steam locomotives[edit]

The following are approximately half size narrow gauge locomotives:

Name Design    Type    Date Notes
Fox Hunslet 2-6-2T 1987 In traffic weekdays and for Driver Experience Courses. Based on a 2-6-4T built by the Hunslet Engine Company for export to India.
Badger Kerr Stuart 0-6-4ST 1991 A freelance locomotive with leanings to Kerr Stuarts Tattoo Class contractors locomotives. Perhaps best described as what the NWNGR's locomotive Beddgelert might have looked like if Kerr Stuart had built it!
Hawk Kitson Meyer 0-4-0+0-4-0T 1998 In traffic for weekend services and special events. Based on a 2'5" gauge Kitson Meyer built by Andrew Barclay Sons & Co. for export to Chile
Owl Avonside Engine Company/Heisler locomotive 0-4-0+0-4-0TG 2000 In traffic for weekend services and special events.
Katie Guest Engineering 2-4-2 1954 newist engine

Diesel locomotive[edit]

  • 0-4-0DH Jay built in 1992, and was constructed around a 1947 vintage Dorman 2DL engine which had previously been used in one of the famous Hudswell Clarke steam outline locomotives used on the Pleasure Beach Express, the well loved miniature railway at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. In 2002 the locomotive was rebuilt with a slightly different body outline, and the engine was replaced with a Ford 4D 4-cylinder diesel engine. In 2008 the locomotive received a further engine changed when it was fitted with a new Kubota 4-cylinder engine, its first new engine since it was built. Jay is probably the hardest-working engine on the line, as it is used a lot to shunt stock; it is also used occasionally on passenger trains. At present, June 2009, it is restricted to light duties while awaiting repairs to hydraulic cooling system.

Petrol locomotives[edit]

  • No 7 The Tram built in 1991. This locomotive was originally constructed was a 2w-2PH platelayers' trolley. It was subsequently fitted with a steam outline body based on the J70 tram engines built by the Great Eastern Railway. It was originally fitted with an engine from an invalid car, though at the present, June 2009, a new small Kubota diesel engine is due to be fitted. It is predominantly used at special events giving rides to children.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Colin Speakman (1985). Ten Years of Achievement. West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive. ISBN 0-9510201-0-2. 
  2. ^ "Railway Ramblers Kirklees". 2004. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 

External links[edit]