Published 25th July 2013
The Middleton Railway will use three of the four steam locos it presently has available for service during the August 24-26 Festival of Transport.
The most likely to run are Manning Wardle 0-6-0ST Matthew Murray, NER H Class (formerly Y7) 0-4-0T No. 1310 and Slough & Windsor Railway Society’s Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST Slough Estates No. 3, with the other option being the Vintage Carriages Trust-owned Manning Wardle 0-6-0ST Sir Berkeley which is resident at the Middleton’s Moor Road base. A diesel from the home collection will supplement main line services.
A highly novel feature will be the last surviving Leeds Horse Tram (No. 107 built by G F Milnes & Co in 1898) offering rides (on the Sunday and Monday only) for the first time in preservation. It will work on the loading line which runs into the car park at Moor Road.
Leeds Transport Historical Society had been restoring the tram, which was rescued from use as a summerhouse in 1977, but needed premises with sufficient height to put the running gear under the body and enable completion of the upper deck.
The Middleton Railway offered the use of its Engine House building and the body was delivered to Moor Road in August 2012. Following its debut at the Festival event the tram will be moved to Crich Tramway Museum.
The Festival of Transport event is being run in conjunction with Armley Mills museum where 18in gauge Hunslet 0-4-0WT Jack will be in steam during the event. A vintage bus will tour sites where locomotives were built in Leeds while linking the Middleton Railway, the city centre and Armley Mills. Other attractions at Moor Road will include traction engines, workshop tours and ‘Driver for a fiver' opportunities.
Helped by a £69,800 (99% of the project cost) HLF grant the Middleton Railway Trust has purchased Hunslet 0-6-0T Brookes No. 1 (HE2387/1941) and Hunslet 2-6-2T Picton (HE1540/1927).
The Heritage Lottery award, made earlier this year, assists the acquisition, conservation and interpretation of ‘The David Monckton Collection’. David Monckton is a former Middleton Railway chairman who wished to sell the collection after moving away from the area.
Both locos were already based at Moor Road. Brookes No. 1 ran at the railway until its boiler ticket expired in June 2009. An overhaul has commence which the Middleton hopes will be led by young volunteers. The boiler has now been lifted from the frames and the tubes removed. Brookes No. 1 could return to service in around 18 months.
The other loco, Picton, is less likely to return to steam. It worked at sugar mills in Trinidad until 1957 but following withdrawal became seriously derelict. David Monckton mounted a rescue operation and repatriated it to Britain several years ago, but it has remained in open storage at Moor Road.
It is a significantly larger locomotive than anything else at the railway presently questions over its loading gauge and doubt as to whether it is a realistic restoration project. The immediate benefit o the lottery cash is provision of finance to erect a canopy over the loco to offer it some protection. The money is also now available to sand blast and wax Picton to arrest further deterioration.
Written by Cliff Thomas