Kirkburton Branch Line

The Kirkburton Branch was built by the London & North Western Railway (L&NWR).

History

The first sod was cut on 10 March 1865 and the line opened on 7 October 1867.

The original hope had been that the line could later be extended southwards through to Barnsley, but this did not happen. Although capable of being a double-track line, only a single track was laid.

The line closed to passenger services in July 1930 and to freight traffic in April 1965. The first mile of the line from Kirkburton Junction at Deighton was retained until 1971 to service the I.C.I. Dalton Works. Both of the line's viaducts still survive.

Principal Features

Route

The approximate route from Kirkburton Junction at Deighton to the terminus station at Kirkburton is shown below:

Discovering Old Huddersfield

Extract from Discovering Old Huddersfield (1993-2002) by Gordon & Enid Minter:

Whilst travelling along Dogley Lane notice an embankment (more easily seen in winter than in summer) running behind the buildings on the left, more or less parallel with the road. This was the track of the Kirkburton branch line, built by the London and North Western Railway Company, from Huddersfield through Deighton, Kirkheaton and Fenay Bridge to a terminus at Kirkburton. On the 30th March 1865 a dinner to celebrate the commencement of the line was given by the contractors, Messrs Eckersley & Bayliss, at the George Hotel, Huddersfield. Speakers at the event expressed confidence that the line would eventually go to South Yorkshire and would also connect Halifax and Huddersfield.

Only five days later the Court of Referees met to consider the Midland Railway Company's Barnsley to Kirkburton Bill which would enable the Company to make an extension railway, twelve miles and thirty-three chains long, from Barnsley to Kirkburton. The Lancashire and Yorkshire and the Manchester Sheffield and Lincoln companies opposed the Bill. The matter was finally settled in June of the same year when the L. & Y. company gave the Midland running power from Penistone to Huddersfield, in perpetuity, for all traffic via Barnsley and Sheffield and station accommodation at Huddersfield. At the same time the M.S.& L. company agreed to give running power to the Midland, in perpetuity, from Sheffield to the junction of the Lancashire and Yorkshire railway at Penistone. Thus no extension was ever built from Kirkburton.

The line was opened on Monday, 6th October 1867 when a decorated tank engine hauled the first train from Huddersfield to Kirkburton. For many years the passenger traffic on the line was operated by "motor" engines on the pull and push system — the "Burton Dick" of popular memory. Passengers continued to be carried on the line throughout the 1920s but the development during that decade of a reliable bus service led to a loss of custom and the passenger service was withdrawn in July 1930. Goods trains continued to use the line until 1965.

Further Reading

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