Hopes afresh for Holbeck viaduct

Long-awaited proposals to re-open the unused Holbeck rail viaduct as a public walkway are hopefully taking root at last, with a major public meeting due this week. Those coordinating the scheme have been talking with the current owners, Network Rail – and the latter have now requested a full project proposal, with the possibility that feasibility work could start in earnest in 2015.

Image: philld, via Creative Commons.
Image: philld, via Creative Commons.

Plans to revive the viaduct, built in 1880 but unused since the 1960s, has been in circulation since at least the 1990s. As previously reported here on South Leeds Life and elsewhere, those plans have taken on a new lease of life in the past year, with local residents pulling together a major partnership of people and groups interested in working on the scheme together.

The project coordinators are now holding their first public meeting for that wide range of potential stakeholders – residents, professionals, local politicians, would-be volunteers, and others – to find out more, share their views, and start developing a detailed project plan for the proposed scheme.

The meeting will be held this Wednesday (19 November 2014), from 6pm (until 8pm latest), at Old Chapel Studios on Czar Street in Holbeck. The meeting is open to anyone – but will of special interest to those potentially interested in getting involved in some way.

Key elements of the meeting will include:

– a short presentation on the viaduct and the proposed scheme so far

– a lot of discussion on issues and queries raised by Network Rail, including: the necessary long-term uncertainty of the project (because Network Rail might conceivably one day reclaim it to use as a rail track); security and safety; how we plan to surface the walkway; our plans to gain permission for the scheme, from local landowners and others; maintenance; and costings and funding (how we plan to raise the money to get the scheme going!)

– future planning, hopefully to include task groups going away to work on: developing a project plan, survey work on the viaduct, research and consultation (eg with local landowners), getting constituted as a group, and more

– and food and drink (thanks to Community First for their finanical support)

If you’ve any queries, please comment below or visit the Facebook group.


3 Replies to “Hopes afresh for Holbeck viaduct”

  1. Hi Ed,

    Great job!

    Gutted I didn’t know about the meeting. Really interested in getting involved at some point. I’ve lived in Holbeck for past 8 years and this is really exciting.

    Have just joined your page so can be messaged there or via email.


  2. The viaduct has not been unused since the 1960s. I moved into my current house in 1985 and I can see the viaduct from my back garden. At that time the viaduct was used as the main route from Leeds City station to London King’s Cross and Inter City 125 trains regularly used the route. I travelled on the viaduct many times in those days passing my house on the way. The last scheduled train to pass over the viaduct did so on 11th October 1987 (see http://www.forgottenrelics.co.uk/bridges/gallery/farnley.html). So the structure has not been disused as long as you suggest.

    1. Steve, many thanks for this – really happy to be put right! A quick search online a few months threw up the 1960s date, but I didn’t manage to substantiate it beyond that. I’m a relative newby to south Leeds (and Beeston, at that) – only been here 12 years. It’s good to get your slightly longer view! I’ll amend our project documents and everything going forward from here. Cheers.

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