Nidd Valley Railway
Nidd Valley Railway
The Nidd Valley Railway was a 11.5-mile (18.5 km) long single track branch railway line that ran along the valley of the River Nidd in North Yorkshire, England. Built by the North Eastern Railway, it ran from Nidd Junction, on the Harrogate to Ripon Line, to Pateley Bridge via five intermediate stations, Ripley Valley, Hampsthwaite, Birstwith, Darley, and Dacre.
The proposal to drive a railway into Nidderdale was first mooted by the Leeds & Thirsk Railway Company when they were constructing their line. Parliamentary authority was granted, however, they allowed the powers to lapse and in 1860, the North Eastern Railway (who had been granted authority in 1859) started constructing the line instead. It opened to traffic on 1 May 1862. The branch was single line throughout without passing places at the intermediate stations and ran for a distance of 11.5 miles (18.5 km) from Ripley Junction on the Leeds to Thirsk line, 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Harrogate.
Upon opening the line had four intermediate stations: Killinghall (renamed first to Ripley in 1862, and then to Ripley Valley in 1875), Birstwith, Darley and Dacre, with Hampsthwaite opening in 1875.
Initially, services for passengers on the line amounted to four out and back workings per day between Harrogate and Pateley Bridge. By 1923, this was seven a day, but this tally fell back again when by the 1950s, only two services in each direction were working the line.
All stations on the line had goods facilities, with the exception of Hampsthwaite, which was for passengers only and actually closed a year earlier to passengers than the other station on the line. Goods traffic was mixed; inbound was mostly coal and construction traffic (especially for transfer over to the Nidd Valley Light Railway) for the reservoir building schemes in Upper Nidderdale. Outward bound traffic was mixed too, with milk being common but the Scotgate Ash quarries above Pateley Bridge provided sandstone slabs and blocks that were used for the platforms at York, Newcastle, Holyhead and London Paddington.
After the traffic on the Nidd Valley Light Railway ceased, passenger numbers and through freight traffic on the branch declined. The last scheduled passenger train ran on 31 March 1951 but the line remained open for goods until 30 October 1964. The last branch goods working was pulled by J27 0-6-0 No 65894.
Nidd Valley Light Railway
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