Pickle Bridge Branch Line

Also known as the Brighouse Branch and the Bailiff Bridge Branch, the Pickle Bridge Branch Line[1] was proposed as part of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (West Riding Branches) Bill of 1866 in order to shorten the rail distance between Huddersfield and Bradford.

The line was completed in 1881 and ran from a new junction with the Manchester & Leeds Railway at Anchor Pit northwards to Pickle Bridge Junction (later known as Wyke Junction) where it joined the L&YR's Halifax to Bradford line (also known as the Sowerby Bridge, Halifax & Bradford Line).

The railway company's failure to acquire land in Wyke led to the proposed line being diverted over Wyke Viaduct.

With the opening of the line, the journey from Huddersfield to Bradford would have been:

  1. northeastwards from Huddersfield Railway Station along the L&NWR's Huddersfield & Manchester Railway
  2. northwards from Bradley Junction along the L&NWR's Bradley Wood Branch Line to join the L&YR's Manchester & Leeds Railway at Bradley Wood Junction
  3. westwards for a short distance to Anchor Pit to join the new L&YR Pickle Bridge Branch Line through to Pickle Bridge Junction (southwest of Wyke Station)
  4. northwards along the L&YR's Halifax to Bradford line to reach the L&YR Exchange Station at Bradford (now Bradford Interchange)

Despite being constructed as a connecting branch line, it gained main line status in 1900 with the introduction of an express service from Bradford to London Marylebone Station (later known as the "South Yorkshireman" service) which ran over the line before stopping at Huddersfield. From there, it used the Penistone Line to reach Sheffield and then southwards to London along the Great Central Line.[2]


Subsidence at Wyke Viaduct led to speed restrictions. By 1948, all passenger services were being diverted off the branch line and it closed completely in 1952. Despite the viaduct being Grade II listed, British Rail successfully applied to demolish the northern end of viaduct in 1987.

Principal Features

The principal of the branch line (going northwards from Anchor Pit to Pickle Bridge Junction) were:

  • bridge over the River Calder
  • Clifton Road Station
  • viaduct near Thornhill
  • Bailiff Bridge Station
  • Wyke Viaduct (also known as Red Lion Viaduct)


Further Reading

Notes and References

  1. Pickle Bridge was the name given to a bridge that carried Green Lane over the Wyke Beck. The L&YR's Halifax to Bradford line crossed the beck at the same place and the nearby railway station was originally named Pickle Bridge Station before being renamed Wyke Station in the 1880s.
  2. Following the closure of the Pickle Bridge Branch, the "South Yorkshireman" service was routed via Halifax. In recent years, the service runs from Sheffield to London St. Pancras Station.