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Middleton Railway


RCD’s Overview

The Middleton Railway is steeped in history and can claim many ‘firsts’ including being the oldest working railway in the country (having been authorised in 1758 and converted to steam in 1812), and being one of the first standard gauge railways to be preserved (in 1960) in the country. The railway is inextricably linked with the fortunes of Leeds, the centre of which is just 2 miles away. It started life as the Middleton Colliery Railway, opened in 1758 where horses pulled thousands of tons of coal a year down a waggon way to Leeds. The railway converted very early to steam power, helping to develop Leeds into a pioneering engineering centre in the process. By 1960, however, coal traffic from Middleton had largely ceased and in that year the Middleton Railway Preservation Society began running goods traffic within the confines of the complex.  The Society began to run passenger services from 1969, which it continues to do to this day, running on many weekends and Bank Holiday Mondays from its Moor Road station in Hunslet.

The support group is the 'Middleton Railway Trust Ltd / Middleton Railway Association' (see 'Information on the Suport Group' below).


Happening This Month:

  • Go to 'Homepage' and click into 'Railway Club Calendar'

Key Facts (where and when)

Extent of Railway (where to where):

Moor Road (Hunslet, Leeds) to Park Halt

Principal Visitor Centre:

Moor Road Station

Period of Operation*

- April to September (Weekends)

- August (also Wednesdays)                             

- October (steam trains Sundays only)

- December (Special event trains)

 [* This is a summary. Please go to the railway’s website for definitive operating days] 


Key Facts (what you’ll see)

Services usually steam or diesel?

Both steam and diesel

Type of Steam / Diesel Locomotives Used:

Steam (Sundays and Bank Holidays). Diesel (Saturdays and Wednesdays)

Length of Line:

1 mile

Time taken for a round trip:

25 minutes

Number of trains per day:

8 in each direction

Number of Stations:

2 stations


Adult Rover: £8. Child Rover: £3. Family Rover: £20

Time to allow for Visit:

1 to 2 hours


Yes, Engine House Display Hall at Moor Road



Picnic/Play areas:


Preservation Established:


Car Park Facilities:

Free parking at Moor Road


Key Facts (Galas/Events/Dining)

Dining Trains:

- No (but café at station)                                                                 

Event Trains:

- Santa Express: December 

Principal Galas:

- 90 plus Years of the Diesel Event: 10/11 June

- Autumn Steam Festival: 23/24 September




Telephone:                                                          07376 744 799


Social Media:                                            

                                                                             Also on Twitter/ Instagram/ YouTube/ Flickr


Brief History of the Railway and its Preservation  

The Middleton Colliery Railway is one of the most historic railways in the country. It was the first in the country (in 1758) to obtain an Act of Parliament to authorise the construction of a waggonway/railway. It was the first to see steam locomotives, introduced by John Blenkinsop who had designed a practical steam locomotive using a rack and pinion system he developed. The four locomotives built for the colliery by Matthew Murray, incorporating John Blenkinsop’s rack system, were the world’s first commercially viable locomotives. Leeds profited hugely from the Middleton colliery and its railway. Cheap coal gave the city a head start in the nascent industrial revolution, developing new and improving existing industries in Leeds. The building of its four pioneer locomotives, plus others for Newcastle waggonways, gave engineers in Leeds experience in locomotive design and construction, and later when steam railways began to spread across the country, Leeds became a locomotive manufacturing base, many companies located in the Hunslet area near Middleton. Famous names include Fenton, Hudswell Clarke, Hunslet, Kitson and Manning Wardle. More locomotives were built in Leeds than in any other city in the country, including Derby, Crewe, Swindon and Doncaster. In 1960, when the coal industry no longer required the line, part of it was bought Clayton’s (a boiler and gasholder manufacturer) who had their Dartmouth Works at the site. An extraordinary collaboration was then initiated whereby Claytons allowed the Middleton Railway Preservation Society to run goods trains for them, operated by staff and students of Leeds University, led by lecturer Dr. Fred Youell. Up to 1983, the society moved many thousands of tons of fabricated and scrap metal between Balm Road Goods Yard and Claytons and their neighbours, Robinson & Birdsell. In 1983, Clayton’s closed its Dartmouth Works site, and the preservation society moved to its current site nearby. The preservation society now runs passenger trains along its line, from a newly new built station at Moor Road, Hunslet.


Principal Aspirations

Expand the railway’s museum, restore ‘Conway’ (the largest steam locomotive in the collection) and restore a number of other locomotives in the collection.


Steam Operational Locomotives:

(1) [S1] Sentinel LNER Class Y1 - No. 54 (LNER) 68153 (BR)

(2) [S6] Hawthorn Leslie 0-4-0ST - 3860 ‘No. 6’            

(3) [S8] Peckett 0-4-0 - John Blenkinsop’ (out on loan)

(4) [S13] Hunslet 0-6-0ST - No. 2387 ‘Brookes No.1’

(5) [S14] Manning Wardle L Class 0-6-0ST - No. 1210 ‘Sir Berkeley’         


Diesel Operational Locomotives:

(1) D1: Hunslet 1697 '7051', ‘John Alcock’

(2) D3: Hunslet 1786 0-4-0 ‘Courage’

(3) D4: Hudswell Clarke D631 0-4-0 ‘Carroll’

(4) D5: Hudswell Clarke D577 0-4-0 ‘Mary’

(5) D6: Brush/Beyer Peacock 91-4-0 'D2999'

(6) D10: Peckett 50030-4-0 ‘Austins No. 1’

(7) D11: Fowler 4220033 0-4-0 ‘Harry’

(8) D14: Hudswell Clarke D1373

(9) Drewry (Woodhead Route overhead Inspection Vehicle) - ‘OLIVe’


Steam Locomotives Under Overhaul:

(1) [S3] NER Class H (LNER Class Y7) 0-4-0T - No. 1310

(2) [S9] Manning Wardle 0-6-0: ‘Matthew Murray’

(3) [S21] Hudswell Clarke 1544 'Slough Estates No. 3'


Static Display

- [S5] Hudswell-Clarke 1309 ‘Henry De Lacy II’

- [S7] Hartmann 2110 'Hs 385'

- [S10] Hudswell-Clarke 1882 ‘Mirvale’

- [S11] Peckett - 2103

- [S15] Kitson 5469 '44' ‘Conway’

- [S19] Hunslet 1493 'No. 11’

- [S20] Hudswell-Clarke 1369 'M. S. C. No. 67'


Stored/ Under Restoration/ Out of Service:  

- [S16]: Hunslet 1540 2-6-2T steam locomotive ‘Picton’

- [S17]: Hunslet 1684 0-4-0T steam locomotive ‘Mendip Collier’



Name of Support Group:

Middleton Railway Trust Ltd / Middleton Railway Association

Annual membership fee:

Adult: £25. Senior: £20 Junior £16. Life: 470


Benefits of membership:                                  

-          Four free rides on the railway each year

-          Quarterly Magazine, ‘The Old Run’ (except for family members)

-          The right to attend general meetings of the company


How to Join:                         Go to


What They Say About Volunteering:

The Middleton Railway is run entirely by volunteers, and so any of our staff that you may have seen when visiting the railway will be volunteers. In all parts of the railway our volunteers perform a variety of exciting and challenging roles, and you would be welcome to join them. We are always looking for interested people who can spare some time to help us. You would not have to commit lots of time, although there are some roles that do require a significant time commitment.


How to Volunteer:             Go to


How to Donate: Go to


WHY JOIN:  Help the railway expand its museum and restore its locomotives, and in so doing take the opportunity to meet like-minded people and gain new skills.



Those interested in this railway may also be interested in the following railway societies also listed on this



Traditional Railway Societies:

- Industrial Railway Society

- Bradford Railway Circle

- RCTS (West Riding branch)

- RCHS (Yorkshire branch)


Model Railway Clubs:

- Leeds Model Railway Society

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