Middleton volunteers steam ahead to tackle litter on railway line

Some of the dumped rubbish near the Middleton Railway line.

Organisations across Leeds joined forces to tackle litter and fly tipping along the Middleton Railway Line.

A big clean-up of the line was held after increasing amounts of litter and rubbish were found dumped in the area.

The clean-up was a joint effort with Middleton Railway Trust, which provided volunteers and a train to transport the litter and waste off the site, Leeds Federated Housing Association and Leeds City Council, which both provided skips.

The area along the historic line, which starts in Hunslet, has now been transformed, after 10 volunteers spent five hours clearing rubbish including, sofas, arm chairs, plastic stripped from cable and beds that had been dumped.

Jill Hellings, of Leeds Federated, said:

“This was a fantastic effort by all volunteers to improve the look of the area and keep the railway line safe. We understand that only a minority of people are responsible for leaving rubbish on the railway line, which spoils the area for everyone living here.

“Residents in the Arthingtons can help us tackle the problem of illegal fly-tipping by reporting incidents to Leeds City Council.”

The Middleton Railway dates back to 1758 and was built across Holbeck Moor to get coal to the banks of the river Aire.

It is now the oldest working steam railway in the world. Last weekend it hosted a huge event celebrating 200 years of steam at the railway that was covered by international media, as well as South Leeds Life.

Andrew Gill, Chairman of the Middleton Railway Trust, said:

“The amount of rubbish was disgusting. We transported two large skips down there on a low loader railway wagon and we filled both of them, plus the Leeds City Council support wagon made three journeys to their refuse collection point at Kirkstall.

“With visitors from around the world arriving to celebrate the bicentenary of the world’s first revenue-earning steam locomotive we didn’t want the world to see it as a junk yard. With it all cleared we were able to show them what a nice area Hunslet is when it is kept tidy.

“Hopefully it won’t get that bad again if we all take responsibility for keeping it clear and reporting those that do use it as a dumping ground.”

Anyone caught dumping their rubbish along the line could face losing their homes, paying the full cleaning costs to the council, a fine of up to £50,000 and up to five years imprisonment.

To report anti-social behaviour or illegal fly-tipping residents should call Leeds City Council on 0113 2224409 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. You can also contact police on the non-emergency number 101.