Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway with Bishopthorpe Camera Club

The Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway is a heritage railway in North Yorkshire, opened in 1981. On Tuesday, 4th July 2017 members of Bishopthorpe Camera Club and their friends visited the Steam Railway for a photographic outing.

The preserved railway was part of the former Midland Railway route from Skipton to Ilkley which was closed down by British Railways in 1965 over 15 years before the reopening of part of the line.

We'd love a cuppa!

The railway which currently runs for a total distance of 4 miles from Embsay via Draughton Sidings, Holywell and Stoneacre Loop to Bolton Abbey station carries around 100,000 passengers a year.

We started at Bolton Abbey Station
Bolton Abbey Station

"Norman" - NCB No. 35 - was built in 1943 and originally used by 154 Railway Operating Company, Long Marston, 24th April 1943 in khaki livery, in readiness for the D-Day landings.

In 1946 "Norman" was bought by the Doncaster Amalgamated Colliery Ltd, and numbered No. 35.

"Ann", a vertical boilered Sentinel locomotive built in 1927, is believed to be the oldest original example of a Sentinel locomotive. All her working life was spent at British Tar Products at Irlam, near Manchester, until about 1969.

An attempt to overhaul this tiny sentinel took place during the 1980s, when a school metalwork teacher took it to the school as a project for some of his students. When the students left, the loco returned to Embsay where she lay derelict and then partly restored for the next 36 years until taken on by Ian Douglas, the railway's Treasurer, as his own project in 1995.

The return to steam was achieved in early 1998, since which it has been used in winter to provide a source of carriage heating in the mornings so that passengers can enjoy warm coaches. Ann is well suited to this as steam can be raised in 45 minutes from cold, or about 15 minutes if the fire is lit the night before.

Great textures - is this a good excuse for me to avoid painting at home?

Wheldale came to the railway from NCB Wheldale Colliery, Castleford, where it had been at work until the early 1980’s. A sad, forlorn looking Wheldale can be viewed at Bolton Abbey Station – at the far end of the platform. It’s expected to move to Embsay when restoration starts in earnest.

Wheldale, a standard Austerity from one of the first batches to be built by Hunslet Engine Company, Leeds, became one of the main locomotives in the railway’s fleet.

A huge fundraising effort is underway to fund its restoration. The cost of this will be well in excess of £100,000 – and that’s using volunteers with free labour!

One of the Stately Trains' carriages (the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Directors' saloon) is usually attached to the main rake of Mark 1 carriages, offering First Class travel in an 'observation car' style. The Directors' saloon has great all-round views, and for half of the trip you will be next to the steam engine.
This was my view from the 1st class carriage!
Locomotive at Bolton Abbey Station
Cook's Excursions to Scotland - sign at Bolton Abbey Station
LMS sign - Embsay Station
LMS sign - Embsay Station
Locomotive steaming at Bolton Abbey station
NCB 35 Locomotive at Bolton Abbey Station

The Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway is run by a dedicated team of volunteers - a typical operating day requires a Responsible Officer, Signalman (x2), Driver (x2), Fireman (x2), Cleaner (x2), Platform staff, Guards (x2), Ticket sellers (x2), Cafe staff (x2), Shop staff (x2), Travelling Ticket Inspectors and various other volunteers in supporting roles. There is no gender stereotyping with lady drivers, firemen and cleaners on the footplate and plenty of gentlemen working on the catering side of the railway.

Volunteers restoring a fence at Bolton Abbey station.


All photos ©Roger Walton 2017

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