Middleton Railway activities 2023

Middleton Railway will reopen on Saturday 1 April 2023 with our annual ‘Community Day’.

This is an opportunity for local groups to bring a stall and advertise their activities and we would like community groups to contact us: admin@middletonrailway.org.uk if you would like to bring a stand. Admission to this event is free to all, trains will be diesel hauled.

A major event takes place on 15 and 16 April. This is the launch into service of the historic locomotive ‘Sir Berkeley’, built by Manning Wardle in Hunslet, in 1891. Engines such as this built many other railways, reservoirs and even housing estates – a similar engine helped build the Middleton estate for Leeds Corporation. This particular engine also appeared in the BBC production of the ‘Railway Children’ which also starred Jenny Agutter.

On this weekend ‘Sir Berkeley’ will be formally accepted into service at 10:45am on Saturday 15 April and will be joined by a fellow Victorian engine, NER 1310, giving an opportunity to ride behind two Victorian locomotives on both days. Trains run from 10:30am to 3:30pm each day.

For Coronation Weekend, the Railway will be closed on Saturday 6 May, Coronation Day in order to allow our volunteers to watch this historic event.

We will operate a steam service on Sunday 7 and Monday 8 May as usual for Bank Holiday Weekends.

Full details of the railway and its activities can be found on our website: www.middletonrailway.org.uk

The cost of living crisis has also affected Middleton Railway, alongside the difficulty of obtaining good quality coal. This means that all Saturday trains, unless specifically advertised, will now be diesel hauled, whilst in October, only Sunday services will operate, these being steam.

The Middleton Railway was built in 1758 and is the first railway authorised by an Act of Parliament, the first to have commercially successful steam locomotives, in June 1812, and also the first standard gauge preserved railway, opening in June 1960. It has operated trains every year since opening in 1758.


This post was written by Ian Smith

Photo: Sir Berkeley at Park Halt on a test run last month

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