Comment: Rally round to find those Middleton Railway thieves

It’s not often we comment on things that happen in our communities here at South Leeds Life. We try to be objective and impartial on everything we cover, so much so we’ve never really written a ‘comment’ piece before – until now.

Stan Holdsworth, Andrew Gill and Steve Roberts

As we’ve reported today, Middleton Railway has been targeted by thieves for the second time since last June, and we’re joining railway chairman Andrew Gill’s calls for local residents to tell the police if they have any information about the latest £7,000 theft, which was discovered yesterday.

The railway – which for the past 52 years had been run solely on the goodwill of the fantastic volunteers at the Middleton Railway Trust – is a fantastic part of South Leeds’ industrial heritage.

As the Middleton Life local history project is currently discovering, the railway and the area’s rich mining past is something to be celebrated. The Middleton Railway, the first railway to be granted powers by Act of Parliament, carried coal cheaply from the Middleton pits to Casson Close, Leeds (near Meadow Lane, close to the River Aire). In 1812 the Middleton Steam Railway became the first commercial railway to successfully use steam locomotives – something the railway is celebrating this year.

The theft’s a kick in the teeth for the volunteers who give countless hours each year to ensuring the railway keeps going. And it’s a kick in the teeth for everyone in south Leeds who cares about the heritage of their community – and there are a lot of us.

And here’s where everyone in south Leeds can play a part in protecting the future of the railway and maintaining a piece of our heritage …

If you have any information – any suspicions at all – please do ontact the police on 101 or Middleton Neighbourhood Policing Team on 0113 3970640. Middleton Railway needs YOUR help support and someone out there will know who’s done this.