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The Huddersfield- Penistone line
and its branches
by “YORKSHIREMAN” with photography by K. FIELD
"Ts Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway made much of the scenic eee of its route when it inaugurated a London—Bradford ser- vice in conjunction with the Great Central Railway towards the end of the last century. One doubts whether hard-headed Yorkshire businessmen found the beauties of the land- scape any hag ae pare for the time taken b a journey on the L. & Y.—G.C. service, but no one who has used the route over the isolated L. & Y. branch from Huddersfield to Peni- stone will contest the claims of its eye- -catching views and heavy engineering works to make it of England’s more spectacular railways. The engineering was in he hands of the Lancashire Yorkshire’s John Hawkshaw and his achievement in completing the 154 miles of track in 4 years 8 months was a creditable The branch was born as a competitor for a projected 65-mile-long Leeds, ee & So ae Staffordshire Ra ilway commenced a not uneventful career in 1844 with the title of Huddersfield & Sheffield Junction Railway a A with the Huddersfield & chai: Railw It was granted an Act in 1845 for a 134 hile co from Springwood to a junction with the Sheffield & Manchester Railway at Penistone and for a 2-mile branch to Holmfirth, and on August 29, 1845, the first sod was lifted by Lord Wharn- cliffe at Penistone.
Above: Class ‘‘BI’’ 4-6-0 No. 61371 crosses Paddock Viaduct at the approach to Hudders- field with a diverted Marylebone—Manchester
Top right: A diverted Pannen ee. bone express, headed by Class ‘‘K3’’ 2-6-0 No. 61966, diverges on to “the Penistone branch at Springwood Junctio Bottom right: ‘‘Crab’’ 2-6-0 No. 42722 restarts a crowded Cleethorpes excursion from Lockwood
In September, 1845, the H. & S.J.R. gave notice of plans for a branch from D enby Dale the = dland Railway at outvoted at its third reading in 1846 and it a not until 1872 that a ranch fr Shee struck out in_ that ae coming a dead end in a field. eme was ie in late 1845 for a Gia soe & Southern Direct Railway from an end-on junction at Holmfirth through Hathersage, ‘Nether Padley, Froggat, Bakewell and Matlock to Cromford, following thence the river Derwent to the Midland’s Ambergate station, and thus giving — via Belper to Derby. J. U. Rastrick was engineer of this proposed line, which no further than paperw ork. In the of 1845 there es squabbles amongst the who sat jointly on the boards of the H. & M.R. and H. & S.J.R., and plans for amalgamation of their systems and
still three miles from Huddersfield after being thrice repulsed from the town because of faulty schemes, seized a chance to gain a foothold. A joint meeting was held with the H. & S.J.R. the local Guild Hall on June 1, 1846, micable terms were agreed and Parliamentary for them was gained on July 1, 1846. So, on August 27, 1846, the H. & S.J.R. became
Two Class "O4" 2-8-0s (the leading one is "O4/8" No. 63683) take the Penistone branch at Springwood Junction with a Sheffield freight.
Springwood Junction, between the tunnels outside Huddersfield. The Manchester line diverges to the left, the Penistone line to the right.
Fowler 2-6-4 tank No. 42407 near Berry Brow with the 6.10 p.m. Penistone—Huddersfield—Mirfield—Bradford.
part of the newly eye a eon gor & Yorkshire Railway, the successor of the M. & L.R. The Penistone was forever an isolated L. & Y. outpost, as .W.R. metals intervened from Springwood Junction, Huddersfield, to the junction with the L. & Y. main line at Heaton Lodge Construction went stead ty forward, although a set-back occurred on January 27, 1847, when a violent ‘“Nor’easter” blew down half of a wooden, Lancashire-type viaduct at Denby Dale. Wood had been substituted for stone by Hawkshaw, and although later damaged by fire, this viaduct, when rebuilt, gave 28 years’ service before replacement with a_ stone structure in May, 1880. Disputes with land- Owners in the area of Paddock Viaduct, near Huddersfield, seriously delayed work on it in 1849-50 and another hindrance was the need to alter plans to make a 142-yd. cutting in the ae of the junction with the LN t Huddersfield, as the Board of Trade to sanction the intended con- vergence inside Springwood Tunnel. However, trial trips were completed by April 29, 1850,
0. Unfortunately the event ended in flasco, with the overloaded engine panting to a halt in the Thurstonland Tunnel; half the train was left inside and half taken back to Penistone, the engine then returning for the remainder. Leaving Huddersfield station the Penistone train plunges immediately into a damp tunnel, partly lit to illuminate a shunting neck and connection to a bay in the station, and strikes a gradient of 1 in 96. It diverges at Springwood Junction and is soon running over Paddoc Viaduct, built on 35-chain curve. This consists ‘of 15 stone divided into sets of six and nine by a lattice-girder section, and
ends with a hee shies bridge; it bridges I
a main road and the Huddersfield & Ashton Canal, which is itself crossing the river Colne on an aqueduct. To the right is a fine 44-mile view along the Colne Valley, but to the left the chimneys of industrial Huddersfield crowd the landscape. Then Paddock cutting precedes the 200-yds.-long Yew Green tunnel, immediately beyond which are the of Lockwood (14 miles). A quarter-mile further on the single- ae Rolin branch diverges to the right o check-railed curve and a I in 50 grade. Nowe: days its traffic is reduced to two daily goods to the David Brown Tractor Plant atits terminus. A picturesque line, with stone-built stations at Netherton and Healey House, it was authorised in 1861, opened to goods traffic on ee 3; 1868, and to passengers on July 12, 1889. An intensive service was run until the 1930" Ss, when buses began to rie ae its traffic. Nevertheless, 11 trains r 939 and t raffic improved cee the late war, Bi t costly repairs ie needed and the regular ceased o 949, the only passenger service anes being a ’ schoolchildren’ s excursion. Apart from the initial heavy gradient by which
LINE 251 the line ascends on a rock shelf, its only engineering works are two short tunnels at
Butternab Wood and Netherton. Each station as a goods yard which once handled con- eo traffic, but is now used only for stora Baud the junction for the Meltham branch the Penistone line comes to Lockwood Viaduct, which carries the track 122 ft. above the River Holme. iller-Blackie & Shortr te were contractors for the viaduct and John Frazer (of Queensbury fame) the resident engineer; along with John Hawkshaw and William Bain, Director and Inspector, their names are inscribed on a stone plaque on top of the end pier. The first stone was laid on April 20, 1846, and 30,000 cu. yds. of rough-dressed stone went into its construction A cutting hewn solid rock (the spoii was used in Lockwood Viaduct) follows and hems in Berry Brow station (23 miles). The up platform is graced by a stone carving of a Barton Wright 0-4-4 tank, a class which did yeoman service on the line; the now weathered sculpture by a young stonemason replaced a smaller one by his father, which depicted a Bury engine and train of early stock. ae the cutting, the Penistone line runs on to embankment 100 ft. above the road, and from this there are magnificent views to the right before the train enters the 230 yds.- ong Robin Hood tunnel, soon followed by an 80 yds. tunnel and then Honley station (44 miles). Between here and Brockholes Junction 15 miles of moorland form the horizon to the right, and standing in the middle of it, like a glittering icicle in winter and lit up like a fairy wand at night, is the B.B.C.’s 750 ft. high Holme Moss TV aerial; the top of the mast is 2,500 ft. above sea level. Brockholes station (54 miles) has a setting as picturesque as its name. Our course so far has been to the south-east, but now we turn east towards Thurstonland beak. with its 1,700 yds.-long tunnel. Diverging to the south, beyond the station, is the Holmfirth branch, ae on the same ‘day as the main line. The engineering work I of this line, which a sade d valley, was a timber viaduct that collapsed on December 13, 1865, and was replaced by a stone structure opened on March iL. 1867. ‘Leaving the viaduct the branch runs into a cutting enclosing Thongsbridge station (1 mile) and _ heads towards Holme Moss Moor for the final #-mile to its terminus. Its double track carried a good service up to 1939, but now there are only four trains each way daily. Standing on the austere single platform and looking beyond the rear of the station hotel and run-round points that replace a turntable lifted in 1938, one can only wonder how Rastrick hoped to surmount the towering moors ahead in his 1845 proposal for a route. through to the Midland. Dashes Holmfirth Junction, with its angle of grass-grown sidings, the Penistone ee enters Thurstonland Springs broached in its construction supply enging
THE HOLMFIRTH BRANCH
Left: Brockholes. junction for the
platform is passing a flower pot topped topped with the rim of the chimney of 2-4-2T
train from Huddersfield.
Left Class "2" 2-6-2T 41264
water to Brockholes, but ee Pee has resulted in the death of a fire who struck his d on an icicle hanging ion the ual roof. The ule gradient so far has been 1 in ; m this point to Penistone it is 1 in 200. The line now veers slightly south through a wooded cutting before arriving at the staggered platforms of St moor station (64 miles) and a further stretch of level track leads to Shepley & Shel + miles). Three-quarters of a mile beyond Shepley & Shelley are the sidings and junction for the single line to Clayton West, which turns north- eastward and is double track width for 14 miles, including the +-mile Shelley Woodhouse Tunnel, to the single platform of Skelman-
thorpe. Here the road bed narrows to single track width and the branch descends at 1 in 75 to Clayton West, 1? miles further on. Pee a joint project by ‘the L . and M.R.
1865 for a line from Huddersfie Id to via Kirkburton, the failure of which resulted in acquisition by the Midland of perpetual running powers from Barnsley to Huddersfield via the le ang Penistone (though it never exercised them), t e 1. . was secretive about the true intentions of the Clayton West Brea ay which was opened in September, 1879. Two abortive were oe made to extend it to a junction the L. Y R's Barnsley-Horbury line at Darton. Parkgate colliery is the branch’s fia source of freight
LINE 23 revenue today and there ate ne workings to it by E.R. engines from Pen The Penistone line ae. kegs the branch junction through the 814 yds. -long Cumber- worth on and a x cutting past a pipe works enby Dale (94 miles) and the ‘of a Dale itself, on ae are are y. Three
ere on Decembe February, 195 Penistone the line twists and turns southwards through ae scenery, until the 400 yds.- long Wellhouse Hill Tunnel heralds the approach to e train takes to Peni- stone Viaduct there is a view dow on Valley to Oxspring Viaduct on the G.C. rnsley line and westwards to on the main line, with Hartcliffe Tower con- spicuous on the skyline. The viaduct, 330 yds. in length and built on a 40-chain curve, stands 83 ft. above the River Don and has 31 arches. Only two piers are founded in the river and the failure of one of foe precipitated L. & Y. 2-4-2 ank No. 661
to death on teas 2, F916, its ae being ha uled up in_ small
pieces ; the crew escaped i stare but a bridge inspector had a
ben leads from the into the former L. & Y. platforms Cee pee to allow ing gr stock to os ‘Hei f the bleakly- situated Poaiscaic station, which is a col in summer but positively Arctic in winter. Taking last summer’s time-
aw 21 passenger trains travelling 21 inward each day; were from and 14 to Penistone, with ae on Saturdays; five were from an to est, with three and two additional
Clayton trains anes on Saturdays; an ee oe to and four from Holmfirth, with ore more each way on Saturdays. Most of the
Porous tench local services are through to and from Bradford their staple power is Class “4” 2-6-4
nch total compares unfavourably with that of pre- war days, when virtually an me service was run to all points served by t The years 1905-10 were he. De
BRIDGEWORK ON THE Above: A Class ‘*4’’ 2-5-4 tank sets out from Penistone over the curving viaduct with the 5.15 p.m. to Huddersfield
PENISTONE BRANCH and Bradford.
Below: Lockwood Viaduct, with Fowler 2-6-4T No. 42410 and a Penistone—Huddersfield train.
THE HUDDERSFIELD—PENISTONE LINE 255
* to Bradford, headed by Fowler 2-6-4T No. 42324, at Penistone.
The 5.15 p.m.
heyday of competitive services from London to Bradford and Manchester and the peak for
were taken over 6-Os, whose star on was the 10 a.m. Bradford—Maryle- bone. The summer services a 1910 showed
coaches to Southampton and Bourne- mouth, Bristol and the West Country via Banbury: today only a _ Bradford— wie mouth-—Poole service survives oO umm Saturdays. Up to the eee of the Penistone viaduct in 1916 there was a through London service of four trains to and from two of them with restaurant cars. Penistone Viaduct was on August 14, 1916, ind these services were reinstated with additional through coaches on the 12.15 p.m. down fro m. from ‘Bradford, as well as on two Su nday tr rane Today there is only the daily Marylebone- Sou th York- shireman’’, although ae through coaches are run on summer Saturda .N.W.R. coaches co Leeds were wore to Sheffield over the Penistone line by t = a after the 1922 amalgamation .N.W. Ee Eppes red; ty e of Wales’
S over express services e Y. 4-6-0s in the 1930s, but ney in turn were wees by “‘Jubilees” and La 4-6-Os; the latter, with ““B all the henry che aad at ves ty the odd Fowler 2- iad and by 2-8-0s on summer week-end excursio The G.C.R. has. also been represented the motive power and in the past there have been numerous occasions when its Manchester-Sheffield traffic has been diverted via Huddersfield because of repairs to Woodhead Tunnel—or, latterly, construction of the new a During a week in the mid-1930s
%& The branch platforms at white from the Sheffield end of the statio
a stud of most G.C. types was stabled at Huddersfield for this reason. In recent months there has been some speculation as to the future of the Huddersfield— Penistone line, ranging from talk of withdrawal of the local services to singling of the track over sections. However, it now appears that the local workings are ‘i kely to be diesel- ised ‘multiple-units later year, and a -car Metro- unit was seen making trial fae Huddersfield ahd on March 6 last.
NEWS IN BRIEF The Scottish Region is introducing a sleeping car service between sla rgh and Inverness this oe departure from Edinburgh (Wav ey) wil be at 10. 55 p.m. (SX) and from 20 p.m. (SX), with intermediate stops i each das at Inverkeithing, Dun- fer maltiie oe Cowdenbeath, Kinross and Milnathor At the end of Febru uary an three-car train was introduced on the Glasgow Subway, writes Mr. M. R. Norman; some station platforms can accommodate onl two cars, and on the outer cars the doors have
tickets on March 23. Region is running a photographers’ or by diesel multiple-unit to Betws-y-Coed fro Doncaster, Mexborough, Rotherham, Sheffield, Wadsley Bridge and Penistone. ... The L.M.R. has begun site work for th ew station at Coventry. ... London Transport’ s new Notting Hill Gate station, serving the Circle and s me into use on March I; between the two possible only by crossing the busy main road on the surface. ... The down slow le ae the new Hadley Wood Tunnels sed by regular G.N. Line traffic for the iat noe on April 4.