Heartless thieves have struck at the heart of south Leeds’ heritage by targeting the Middleton Railway for the second time in under a year.
In this latest incident, thieves took between £6,000 to £7,000 of metal from the world’s oldest continuously working railway, which has been running since 1758.
Volunteers who now run the railway found the theft when they arrived at the Moor Road Station in Hunslet yesterday morning.
Only last June the railway was faced with thousands of pounds worth of damage after metal thieves struck.
Railway chairman Andrew Gill told South Leeds Life that the theft was a blow to south Leeds’ industrial heritage – and to the team of volunteers who give up their time for free to run the railway. He said:
“The thieves took 23 couplings from our fleet of Heritage goods wagons. This type of coupling is no longer in use on the mainline railways, so finding that many may well be a problem.“It could end up we have to have them especially made, which will obviously costs us money. Until we find replacements we are unable to run our demonstration goods trains, something that has now disappeared from the mainline railways.“Please give this as much publicity as possible, Somebody, somewhere may know something.”
Mr Gill yesterday took to micre-blogging site Twitter to voice his concerns. He tweeted:.
“Not a happy Saturday here, £6k of metal stolen, train couplings, we can’t move anything!!”
And in a tweet to the leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Keith Wakefield, Mr Gill said:
@CllrKWakefield our industrial heritage being stolen from the city, another £7k of metal theft from Middleton Railway. How do we stop it???”
West Yorkshire Polcie recently held a force-wide day of action against the growing problems of metal thefts.
Metal thieves also recently struck at the SLATE second-hand furniture social enterprise in Hunslet.