Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway: Wikis


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Coordinates: 53°58′30″N 1°59′28″W / 53.975°N 1.991°W / 53.975; -1.991

Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway
Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway
Embsay station
Locale Embsay, North Yorkshire, England
Terminus Embsay
Commercial operations
Name Skipton to Ilkley Line
Built by Midland Railway
Original gauge 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
Preserved operations
Operated by Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway
Stations 3
Length 4 miles (6 km)
Preserved gauge 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
Commercial history
Opened 1888
Closed 1965
Preservation history

The Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway (E&BASR) is a heritage railway in North Yorkshire, England, (formed in 1979). It is part of the former Midland Railway branch from Skipton to Ilkley (which closed down in 1965 14 years earlier). The E&BASR runs from Embsay via Holywell and Draughton to Bolton Abbey station, a distance of 4 miles (6 km). It is a long-term objective to extend the line to Addingham and Skipton.



The rolling stock on the line consists of 20 ex-industrial locomotives, the oldest of which was built in 1908; three diesel-multiple units; and ten other diesel locomotives. The railway holds annual galas including the popular Diesel Gala and the Harvest of Steam.

Embsay railway station was built in 1888. Bolton Abbey village is named after a nearby ruined 12th century priory, belonging to the Dukes of Devonshire.

The route was formerly part of the Midland Railway line that connected Skipton and Ilkley via Addingham. The railway was shut down by British Railways in 1965 and was left to rest in disrepair. Around 14 years later in 1979 a group of volunteers put forward a plan to reopen the line as a preservation line. This plan went ahead and Embsay railway station was refurbished and reopened. Then to the west of Embsay station, a loop was built for locomotives to run round. This was near the site of the former Embsay Junction, which was disconnected when the line closed. In 1987 Further extensions brought the line to newly-constructed halts at Holywell and Draughton.

Bolton Abbey railway station and the section between the station itself and Draughton reopened in 1998 and celebrated its centenary during its grand reopening.

Expansion plans

The abandoned Lobb Ghyll viaduct; an incredible five arch construction which is sited on the former line from Embsay to Addingham. It is hidden away in a bluebell wood by the River Wharfe to the south of Bolton Bridge.

As the original line stretched from Skipton to Ilkley there has been talk of extending the re-opened track to cover the original extent prior to its closure by British Railways in 1965. Taking the line to Addingham and re-opening Addingham railway station is often mentioned as a potential project but the line's owners have said that they intend to settle down and consolidate the current route.[1]

Any extension to Addingham would be a huge project, and would involve a near-doubling of the line's current length. Previous extensions have been built in small sections over a long period of time, so re-opening of the line to Addingham would be many years off. Sustrans are interested in converting the route into a cycle path, but would provide formation space for a single track allowing any extension to be built.[2]

Much of the route between Addingham and Ilkley has been re-developed since abandonment. Cuttings have been filled in and Ilkley viaduct was demolished in 1973 (six years before the E&BSR was formed). The Skipton platforms at Ilkley station now form the station's car park and there has been significant building development in Ilkley town centre on the former trackbed. Therefore, it is unlikely that this section will ever be reinstated as preserving the whole line between Ilkley and Skipton was considered too expensive.

There is currently no link between the Heritage line and the Network Rail branch line to Swinden Quarry, the points at this site having been dismantled. However to rebuild this connection would only require a few metres of track and a signal box reinstated to change the points at the junction. The branch line originally had its own platforms at Skipton station. If this link were reinstated these platforms would need to be rebuilt as they have been disused for a very long time. In 1982 there were plans to extend the line up to Skipton, as a special DMU service was running at the time. Unfortunately British Rail was still using the section between the two stations for its operations to Swinden Quarry (as the old Grassington branch was and is still part of the rail network), so plans were dropped, stating that operating as far as Skipton whilst sharing the line with the goods operation was too problematic.

However, it has been recently confirmed that if the money can be raised the connection to Skipton will actually happen. Skipton's platform 5 will also be reinstated and used for the heritage railway link.

The embankment supporting Addingham railway station, goods yard and depot was removed and replaced in the 1980s with a housing development, with the bridge and abutments over the main road demolished at around the same time. There are plans to rebuild one of the bridge abutments at the end of the surviving embankment to the north as part of the Addingham Extension Project which also involves constructing a replica LMS style station, goods yard and depot on the extra land next to and at the end of the embankment. These would be over the main road from the now defunct former station and goods depot.

There are also plans for a proposed Bolton Bridge halt close to the old Lobb Ghyll Viaduct between Bolton Abbey and Addingham stations.

The platforms at Skipton (5 & 6) that served the Ilkley branch were made redundant in 1965. Network Rail has carried out a survey for the reinstatement of the connecting points between the Embsay line and the freight line to Rylstone, and the reinstatement of the platform 5 at Skipton. If funding is made available, then the line could be extended.[3]

Media appearances

The railway was also the filming location of an episode of Emmerdale. In the episode, Embsay station was made to look like the fictional Hotten station. Many of the shows's famous characters were at the filming. The episode was filmed in December 2004.[4]

The route

  Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway
Continuation backward
   (Arrow Blue Up 001.svg Leeds-Morecambe Line )
Track turning from left Junction to right
Unknown route-map component "eCPICl" Left side of cross-platform interchange
Continuation to right Unknown route-map component "KRZo" Track turning right
   (Arrow Blue Left 001.svg Airedale Line )
Unknown route-map component "xABZlf" Continuation to left
   ( former Yorkshire Dales Railway Arrow Blue Right 001.svg)
Unknown route-map component "xENDEa"
   Bow Bridge sidings
Station on track
Stop on track
Unknown route-map component "AKRZu"
Unknown route-map component "PSL"
   Stoneacre Loop
Unknown route-map component "KBHFxe"
Bolton Abbey
Unknown route-map component "exBHF"
Unknown route-map component "KBHFxa"
Continuation forward
   (Arrow Blue Down 001.svg Wharfedale Line )

The route runs through the countryside of the Yorkshire Dales on the border between the former North and West Ridings of Yorkshire. The railway has helped the surrounding area to regenerate and provides a new attraction.

  • Skipton (proposed). A long-term objective since 1984, a proposed new northern terminus of the line to interchange with Northern Rail train services on the Airedale Line.
  • Embsay. Re-opened in 1979, restored to its former LMS condition. The current terminus of the line.
  • Draughton (proposed). There are plans to build a new halt called Draughton Halt, at the site of Stoneacre Loop.
  • Bolton Bridge (proposed). As part of the Addingham Extension Project, the railway is aiming to build Bolton Bridge Halt.
  • Addingham (proposed). A long-term objective. However the old original railway station and goods site have long since been redeveloped. There are plans to build a new railway station and goods yard opposite, and rebuild bridge abutment for platform extension.




  • Operational steam locomotives
  • Steam locomotives undergoing overhaul or restoration
    • Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST No 22. The overhaul began in late 2008 and the loco is now completely dismantled.
    • Hunslet 0-6-0ST No 2705 "Beatrice". The successfully tested boiler has been lifted into the completed frames, a 2010 completion date is planned.
    • Hunslet 0-6-0ST No 8 "Warspite". It is undergoing boiler work, the chassis require no work at all and it will require a repaint, completion is expected in 2010.
    • Peckett 0-4-0ST No 1159 "Annie". Undergoing overhaul, boiler away while work will carry out on the rest of the engine at Embsay.
    • Hunslet 0-6-0ST No 1440 "Airedale". Restoration is expected to start soon and an inspection and welding together a new bunker has been completed.
    • Hunslet 0-6-0ST No S112 "Revenge". Undergoing overhaul, the chassis have been completed and boiler work has now started, a 2010 completion date is expected.
    • Hunslet 0-6-0ST No S121 "Primrose". Away for overhaul which is progressing well, expected to be done in 2010.
    • Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST No 1208 "Illingworth". Undergoing final work on the frames and re-wheeling is not far off, the boiler is in fairly good condition, expected to be completed in 2010.
  • Stored steam locomotives
    • Hunslet 0-6-0ST No 1 "N.C.B. Monckton No.1". Withdrawn 2009
    • Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0T No 140. Withdrawn in 2008
    • Bagnall 0-6-0ST No 2 "Cranford No.2". Withdrawn for overhaul in 2005 and is currently at the Rutland Railway Museum who could overhaul it for use on their railway.
    • Yorkshire Engine Company 0-4-0ST No 1 "York". Stored. Out of use. Planned to have a fresh coat of paint for display in the railway's planned museum building which is still under construction.
    • RSH 0-4-0ST No 2. Awaiting major restoration but there are plans for it to have one once work has been completed on other locomotives first.
    • Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST No 5 "Slough Estates". Awaiting a very major overhaul and is planned to be put on display in the railway's planned museum building.
    • Hunslet 0-6-0ST No 69. Stored, planned exhibition in the planned museum building.
    • Hunslet 0-6-0ST No S134 "Wheldale". Stored on static display at Bolton Abbey.
    • Hunslet 0-6-0ST No 68005. Stored awaiting overhaul following being withdrawn in late 2006, had been in use on the railway for 11 years.


  • Operational diesel locomotives
    • Ruston & Hornsby 4wDM No 887. Operating and sometimes shunts at Embsay.
    • Andrew Barclay 0-4-0DM No 2 "Meaford". Stopped pending repairs.
    • Wickham 4w Wickham Trolley. Recently been restored and will be used for permanent way duties.
    • Vulcan Drewry Class 04 0-6-0 No D2203. Operation and a regular shunter at Embsay yard.
    • BR 0-6-0 Class 08 No 08773. Operational and a regular shunter at Embsay.
    • BR A1A-A1A Class 31 No 31119. Operational and in use on diesel services.
    • BR A1A-A1A Class 31 No D5600 (31435). Operational.
    • BR Co-Co Class 47 No 47004. Operational and in use on diesel services. Its steam-heat boiler is undergoing work so it can be re-certified.
    • Class 107 2 car DMU set Nos 52005+52031. Operational and in use regularly on morning diesel services.
  • Diesel locomotives undergoing repair, overhaul or restoration
    • BR Class 37 37294 has left storage in Crewe and is now at the railway were it will be assessed and then restored to working order
    • Fowler 0-4-0 No 4100003 "H.W. Robinson. Is having a gearbox replacement and bodywork overhaul.
    • BR 0-6-0 Class 14 No D9513. Nearing the end of a major overhaul which should be completed in 2008.
    • Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0 No 36. Recently been re-wheeled and undergoing a slow engine rebuild, progress will speed up once the class 14 (see above) is completed.
    • BR 0-6-0 British Rail Class 08 No 08054. Recently arrived from Swinden Quarry and donated by Tarmac. Requires engine work and will be used as Bolton Abbey station pilot.
  • Stored diesel locomotives
    • Fowler 0-4-0 No 4200003. Requires extensive restoration, presently stored at Bolton Abbey, work will start once No. 36 is complete.
    • Baguley Drewry 4w "The Bug/Clockwork Orange". Requires an engine and bodywork replacement, one day it will be restored.

Vintage carriages

    • MR Corridor Third No 238 built in 1922. The coach body is being restored and new bogies have arrived which are waiting to be fitted, planned to be restored to LMS condition eventually.
    • MR Corridor Third No 241 built in 1922. Awaiting restoration, planned to be made available for service asap.
    • ECJS Clerestory (Body:now on Gresley) No 189. Built in 1894. The oldest dining car in existence, currently away at Doncaster for its riding height to be corrected.
    • GER 6w Family Saloon No 8 built in 1877. Currently awaiting restoration, the railway currently has the body and the underframe at the moment, in good condition so it won't have to wait much longer for its restoration to start, planned to be restored to its original teak livery.
    • GER 6w Saloon No 14 built in 1899. Body rebuilt in 2004 and restored to original teak livery, used regularly on the Stately Trains and carries passengers.
    • GER 6w Family Saloon No 37 built in 1897. Operational and used regularly on the Stately Train services, was repainted into teak livery in 2005.
    • GNSR 6w Saloon No 34 built in 1896. Operational and used regularly on the Stately Train services, painted in red and white livery, the only Scottish coach operating in England.
    • LYR Directors Saloon No 1 built in 1906. Is used regularly on normal passenger trains and Stately Trains. Currently visiting the National Railway Museum For 1 year for use on their demonstration line.
    • LNWR Directors Saloon No 1318, built in 1913. Currently being restored, is finished externally and work on the interior is progressing, due back into traffic for the steam gala.
    • LSWR Queen Victoria's Saloon No ? built in 18??. Awaiting restoration which is due to start once all the current projects are finished.


External links


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