Kirklees Light Railway
|Kirklees Light Railway|
|Fox at Clayton West station|
|Locale||West Yorkshire, England|
|Name||Clayton West branch|
|Built by||Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway|
|Original gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Length||3 1⁄2 miles (5.6 km)|
|Preserved gauge||15 in (381 mm)|
|1 September 1879||opened|
|24 January 1983||closed|
|19 October 1991||opened|
|26 December 1992||extended to Skelmanthorpe|
|May 1997||extended to Shelley Woodhouse|
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 1⁄2 mile (0.80 km), near Shepley) on the Penistone Line from Huddersfield to Sheffield, (via Penistone and Barnsley).
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 in case of a proposed extension to reach Darton on the Dewsbury to Barnsley Line, but only one line was ever laid and despite attempts to extend the railway, Clayton West was to remain as a terminus.
The line survived the Beeching cuts in large part thanks to the mineral traffic generated by the collieries at the terminus (Park Mill) and at Skelmanthorpe (Emley Moor), but was sadly not adopted by the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive unlike nearly all other passenger lines in West Yorkshire and was closed to passengers on 24 January 1983. Coal was still transhipped from Emley Moor Colliery to Elland power station until 1984 and tracklifting of the branch was completed in 1986.
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 transmitting station, 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, the longest tunnel on any 15 in (381 mm) gauge line in Britain.
The original line as built was 3 1⁄2 miles (5.6 km), but upon reopening as the Kirklees light railway, the line is short of the former Clayton West Junction on the Penistone Line and the length of the light railway is 3.04 miles (4.89 km).
Stations of the KLR
- Clayton West - headquarters of the KLR
- Cuckoos Nest halt
- Shelley Woodhouse - terminus of the KLR
|Kirklees South Lines|
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.
The following are approximately half size narrow gauge locomotives:
|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||newest engine|
- 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.
- 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.
The red Hunslet locomotive called "Fox" preparing to latch on to the carriages from Clayton West station to go to Shelley station.
- "Kirklees Light Railway 15 Inch". UK Miniature Railway world. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- "Clayton West Branch". Lost Railways of West Yorkshire. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- "Kirklees Light Railway celebrates 21st anniversary with a ride for each year". Huddersfield Daily Examiner. 19 October 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- "Boiler incident on the Kirklees Light Railway 3 July 2011" (PDF). Department of Transport. Rail Accident Investigation Branch. March 2012. p. 7. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- Marshall, John (1970). The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Volume 2. Newton Abbott: David & Charles. p. 116. ISBN 0-7153-4906-6.
- Young, Alan (2015). Lost Stations of Yorkshire;The West Riding. Kettering: Silver Link. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-85794-438-9.
- Shannon, Paul (2006). Railfreight since 1968: Coal. Kettering: Silver Link Publishing. p. 80. ISBN 1-85794-263-9.
- Colin Speakman (1985). Ten Years of Achievement. West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive. ISBN 0-9510201-0-2.
- Shannon, Paul (June 2009). "How King Coal lost his Throne". Railways Illustrated. Vol. 7 no. 6. p. 12. ISSN 1479-2230.
- Catford, Nick. "Skelmanthorpe". Disused Stations. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- Young, Alan (2015). Lost Stations of Yorkshire;The West Riding. Kettering: Silver Link. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-85794-438-9.
- "Railway Ramblers Kirklees". 2004. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
- Earnshaw, Alan (1993). The Kirklees Light Railway. Shepley: Transpennine Publications. p. 20. ISBN 0-9521070-0-7.
- Earnshaw, Alan (1992). The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway. Shepperton: Ian Allan. pp. 116–117. ISBN 0711020582.
- Jacobs, Gerald (2006). Railway Track Diagrams - Eastern. Bradford-On-Avon: Trackmaps. p. 40. ISBN 9780954986629.
- "Locomotives - Meet the Engines". Kirklees Light Railway. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
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