Last week I accompanied local residents Ed Carlisle and Dennis Kitchen, Cllr Richard Lewis and staff from Network Rail walking the 1.7 km of the Holbeck Viaduct.
The 145 year old structure runs from Gelderd Road to Globe Road in Holbeck. Trains haven’t run on it since the 1960s and nature has taken over with brambles, shrubs and trees now growing between the rails.
All photos by Jeremy Morton
Ed is one of the people behind the Holbeck Highline project which aims to turn the viaduct into a walk and cycle route and green space. The idea comes from similar projects across the globe, most notably the Highline in New York.
Judging from what we saw on our walk there is a great deal of work to be done, but Ed is not daunted.
“We can take it in stages, getting a basic safe route going first and then improving the planting and creating seating areas etc” he said. “There is a lot of excitement and goodwill in the city to help us achieve this.”
“Our first challenge to identify access points along the route to make the viaduct usable. I’d like to thank Network Rail for their help so far in identifying issues that we will need to address.”
Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council Executive Member for Development and the Economy said:
“This is a very exciting project. I can see the many recreational benefits, but I would also like to understand how it will fit in with developments in the South Bank area and ensure we link the residents of ‘Old Holbeck’ with the new jobs in Holbeck Urban Village and the rest of the South Bank.”
The Holbeck Viaduct is not accessible to the public at present. It is owned by Network Rail and walking on it without permission is both unsafe and unlawful.
One Reply to “Slideshow: Walking the Holbeck Highline”
I am not sure where the rumour about trains not running on the viaduct since the 1960s originated but it is incorrect. I moved into Cross ingram Road in 1985. The viaduct virtually runs through my back garden. When I moved there, Inter City 125s used the viaduct – it was the main line to London Kings Cross and I travelled along it on several occasions in those days. The London line was later rerouted to follow its current route into Leeds City station. It was around 1990 I’d guess when the viaduct was closed as a main line route. Even after that date the line was occasionally used for storage of rolling stock. I would love to see it used once again, preferably for its intended use as a railway line, but failing that it needs to be preserved as a Victorian feat of engineering – part of Holbeck’s heritage.
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