Thursday, 13 June 2013

Opening post - 49 years ago today!

49 years ago today, the last passenger trains ran over the Pudsey Loop - a suburban railway line connecting the town of Pudsey with the cities of Leeds and Bradford in West Yorkshire. The official closure date under the Beeching Report proposal was Monday 15th June 1964 but no trains ran on Sundays so Saturday 13th June saw the doors close for the final time.

I spent my early years in Pudsey before my father's work took the family to Oldham. My mother's parents stayed on in Pudsey so frequent trips were made over the Pennines to see them. My maternal grandfather retired in 1962 from Towler Bros of Farsley so had time in my school holidays to encourage my interest in railways.

An abiding memory is being taken by my grandfather on a ride from Pudsey Greenside to Bradford Exchange shortly before closure. As he booked the tickets, my grandfather remarked how sorry he was to see the railway go. The booking clerk replied that he must be one of the few seeing how little the line was used...

The Pudsey Loop was in the North Eastern Region of British Railways so after closure orange enamel signs were attached to the doors of Greenside and Lowtown stations advising passengers and those with parcels to go to Stanningley. Funnily enough, the orange enamel station sign pointing to Pudsey Greenside remained in position pointing down Carlisle Road from Chapeltown for many months afterwards.

Freight hung on until 6th July 1964 and then a period of dereliction set in before the track was removed and the buildings demolished. Now of course the route of the Loop is barely distinguishable on the ground in Pudsey.

Over the next year, I am hoping to research the Loop and highlight key events in readiness for the 50th anniversary of its closure. Do join me!