Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway

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Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway
Embsay station
Place Embsay, North Yorkshire, England
Terminus Embsay
Commercial Operations
Name Skipton to Ilkley Line
Built by Midland Railway
Gauge 4 ft 8½ in (1,435 mm)
Preserved Operations
Operated by Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway
Stations 3
Length 4 miles
Gauge 4 ft 8½ in (1,435 mm)
Commercial History
Opened 1888
Closed 1965
Preservation History

The Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway (E&BASR) is a heritage railway in North Yorkshire, England. It is part of the former Midland Railway branch from Skipton to Ilkley: the E&BASR currently runs from Embsay via Halton East and Draughton to Bolton Abbey station, a distance of 4 miles (6 km). There are plans to extend the line back to Addingham and also to Skipton where it shall interchange with trains on the Airedale Line in the future[citation needed].


The rolling stock on the line consists of 20 ex-industrial locomotives, the oldest of which was built in 1908; three diesel-multiple units; and ten other diesel locomotives.

Embsay Station was built in 1888. Bolton Abbey village is named after a nearby ruined 12th century priory, belonging to the Dukes of Devonshire.

The route was formerly part of the Midland Railway line that connected Skipton and Ilkley via Addingham. The railway was shut by British Railways in 1965 and was left to rest in disrepair. Around 15 years later in 1979 a group of volunteers put forward a plan to reopen the line as a preservation line. This plan went ahead and Embsay Station was refurbished and reopened. Then to the west of Embsay Station, a loop was built for locomotives to run round. This was near the site of the former Embsay Junction, which was disconnected when the line closed. Further extensions brought the line to newly-constructed halts at Holywell Halt and Stoneacre.

The line between the Embsay and Bolton Abbey railway stations reopened in 1998 and celebrated its 100th birthday during its grand reopening. There are plans in the future to extend the line back to Addingham and also to Skipton. where it will allow passengers to connect from train services on the Airedale Line.

Expansion plans

As the original line stretched from Skipton to Ilkley there has been talk of extending the re-opened track to cover the full distance prior to its closure by British Railways. Taking the line to Addingham and re-opening Addingham railway station is often mentioned as a potential project but the line's owners have said that they intend to settle down and consolidate the current route.[1]

Any extension to Addingham would be a huge project, and would involve a near-doubling of the line's current length. Previous extensions have been built in small sections over a long period of time, so re-opening of the line to Addingham would be many years off. Sustrans are interested in converting the route into a cycle path, but would provide space for a trackbed allowing any extension to be built should the decision be made.[2]

Much of the railway through Addingham and Ilkley has since been built on so further reconstruction would be almost certainly ruled out even if an Addingham extension took place.

There is currently no link between the line and the Network Rail branch line to Swinden Quarry, however to rebuild this would only require a few metres of track. The branch line originally had its own platforms into Skipton station, and so if this link was re-instated then to operate services from Skipton would require the platforms to be rebuilt. The line was once double tracked and it might be doubtful that it shall return to that state.

Media Appearances

The railway also was the filming location of an Emmerdale episode. In the episode, Embsay station was made to look like Hotten station. Many of the shows's famous characters were at the filming. The episode was filmed in December 2004.[3]

The Route

Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway
BSicon leer.svgBSicon leer.svg20px    (10px Airedale Line )
BSicon leer.svg20px20px
BSicon leer.svg20px20px Skipton
20px20px20px    (10px Airedale Line )
BSicon leer.svg20px20px    ( former Yorkshire Dales Railway 10px)
20px}}}    Bow Bridge sidings
20px}}} Embsay
20px}}} Holywell
20px}}}    A59
20px}}}    Stoneacre Loop
20px}}} Bolton Abbey
20px}}} Addingham
20px}}} Ilkley
20px}}}    (10px Wharfedale Line )

The route runs through the glorious countryside of the Yorkshire Dales. The railway has helped the surrounding area to regenerate and give a new attraction.

The main spots of the route in order are:



  • Steam Locomotives undergoing Overhaul or Restoration
    • Hunslet 0-6-0ST No 2705 "Beatrice". The successfully tested boiler has been lifted into the completed frames, a 2008 completion date is planned.
    • Hunslet 0-6-0ST No 8 "Warspite". It is undergoing boiler work, the chassis require no work at all and it will require a repaint, completion is expected in 2008.
    • Peckett 0-4-0ST No 1159 "Annie" Undergoing Overhaul, boiler away while work will carry out on the rest of the engine at Embsay.
    • Hunslet 0-6-0ST No 1440 "Airedale". Restoration is expected to start soon and an inspection and welding together a new bunker has been completed.
    • Hunslet 0-6-0ST No S112 "Revenge". Undergoing Overhaul, the chassis have been completed and boiler work has now started, a 2009 completion date is expected.
    • Hunslet 0-6-0ST No S121 "Primrose". Away for Overhaul which is progressing well, expected to be done in 2008.
    • Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST No 1208 "Illingworth". Undergoing final work on the frames and re-wheeling is not far off, the boiler is in fairly good condition, expected to be completed in 2008.
  • Stored Steam Locomotives
    • Bagnall 0-6-0ST No 2 "Cranford No.2". Withdrawn for Overhaul in 2005 and is currently at the Rutland Railway Museum who could overhaul it for use on their railway.
    • Yorkshire Engine Company 0-4-0ST No 1 "York". Stored out of use, planned to have a fresh coat of paint for display in the railways planned Museum building which is still under construction.
    • RSH 0-4-0ST No 2. Awaiting major restoration but there are plans for it to have one once work has been completed on other Locomotives first.
    • Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST No 5 "Slough Estates". Awaiting a very major overhaul and is planned to be put on display in the railways planned museum building.
    • Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST No 22. Withdrawn in 2000 and is stored awaiting a repaint for display in the under construction Museum building.
    • Hunslet 0-6-0ST No 69. Stored, planned exhibition in the planned museum building.
    • Hunslet 0-6-0ST No S134 "Wheldale". Stored on Static display at Bolton Abbey.
    • Hunslet 0-6-0ST No 68005. Stored awaiting overhaul following being withdrawn in late 2006, had been in use on the railway for 11 years.


  • Operational Diesel Locomotives
    • Ruston & Hornsby 4wDM No 887. Operating and sometimes shunts at Embsay.
    • Andrew Barclay 0-4-0DM No 2 "Meaford". Stopped pending repairs.
    • Wickham 4w Wickham Trolley. Recently been restored and will be used for permanent way duties.
    • Vulcan Drewry Class 04 0-6-0 No D2203. Operation and a regular shunter at Embsay yard.
    • BR 0-6-0 Class 08 No 08773. Operational and a regular shunter at Embsay.
    • BR A1A-A1A Class 31 No 31119. Operational and in use on diesel services.
    • BR A1A-A1A Class 31 No D5600 (31435). Operational.
    • BR Co-Co Class 47 No 47004. Operational and in use on diesel services. Its steam-heat boiler is undergoing work so it can be re-certified.
    • Class 107 2 car DMU set Nos 52005+52031. Operational and in use regularly on morning diesel services.
  • Diesel Locomotives undergoing repair, Overhaul or Restoration
    • BR 0-6-0 Class 14 No D9513. Nearing the end of a major overhaul which should be completed in 2008.
    • Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0 No 36. Recently been re-wheeled and undergoing a slow engine rebuild, progress will speed up once the class 14 (see above) is completed.
    • BR 0-6-0 British Rail Class 08 No 08054. Recently arrived from Swinden Quarry and donated by Tarmac. Requires engine work and will be used as Bolton Abbey Station Pilot.
  • Stored Diesel Locomotives
    • Fowler 0-4-0 No 4200003. Requires extensive restoration, presently stored at Bolton Abbey, work will start once No. 36 is complete.
    • Fowler 0-4-0 No 4100003 "H.W Robinson. Awaiting a gearbox replacement and bodywork overhaul.
    • Baguley Drewry 4w "The Bug/Clockwork Orange". Requires an engine and bodywork replacement, one day it will be restored.

Vintage carriages

    • MR Corridor Third No 238 built in 1922. The coach body is being restored and new bogies have arrived which are waiting to be fitted, planned to be restored to LMS condition eventually.
    • MR Corridor Third No 241 built in 1922. Awaiting Restoration, planned to be made available for service asap.
    • ECJS Clerestory (Body:now on Gresley) No 189. Built in 1894. The oldest dining car in existence, currently away at Doncaster for its riding height to be corrected.
    • GER 6w Family Saloon No 8 built in 1877. Currently awaiting restoration, the railway currently has the body and the underframe at the moment, in good condition so it won't have to wait much longer for its restoration to start, planned to be restored to its original teak livery.
    • GER 6w Saloon No 14 built in 1899. Body rebuilt in 2004 and restored to original teak livery, used regularly on the Stately Trains and carries passengers.
    • GER 6w Family Saloon No 37 built in 1897. Operational and used regualrly on the Stately Train services, was repainted into teak livery in 2005.
    • GNSR 6w Saloon No 34 built in 1896. Operational and used regularly on the Stately Train services, painted in red and white livery, the only Scottish Coach operating in England.
    • LYR Directors Saloon No 1 built in 1906. Is used regularly on normal passenger trains and Stately Trains, Currently visiting the National Railway Museum For 1 year for use on their demonstration line.
    • LNWR Directors Saloon No 1318, built in 1913. Currently being restored, is finished externally and work on the interior is progressing, due back into traffic for the steam gala.
    • LSWR Queen Victorias Saloon No ? built in 18??. Awaiting restoration which is due to start once all the current projects are finished.

See also


External links

Railway museums and heritage railways in England


Amerton • Appleby Frodingham • Avon Valley • Battlefield Line • Bideford and Instow • Bluebell • Bodmin and Wenford • Bowes • Bredgar and Wormshill • Bristol Harbour • Bure Valley • Cambrian (Society) • Cambrian (Trust) • Chasewater • Chinnor and Princes Risborough • Cholsey and Wallingford • Churnet Valley • Cleethorpes Coast • Colne Valley • Dartmoor • Dean Forest • Derwent Valley • East Kent • East Lancashire • East Somerset • Ecclesbourne Valley • Eden Valley • Elsecar • Embsay and Bolton Abbey • Epping Ongar • Foxfield • Gloucestershire Warwickshire • Great Central • Great Whipsnade • Helston • Hythe Pier • Isle of Wight • Keighley and Worth Valley • Kent and East Sussex • Kirklees Light • Lakeside and Haverthwaite • Lappa Valley • Launceston • Lavender Line • Leighton Buzzard • Llewellyn's Miniature • Lincolnshire Wolds • Lynton and Barnstaple • Mid-Hants "Watercress" Line • Mid-Norfolk • Mid-Suffolk • Middleton • Midland • Nene Valley • North Gloucestershire • North Norfolk • North Tyneside • North Yorkshire Moors • Northampton & Lamport • Northamptonshire Ironstone • Paignton and Dartmouth • Peak Rail • Perrygrove • Plym Valley • Ravenglass and Eskdale • Ribble • Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch • Rudyard Lake • Rushden, Higham & Wellingborough • Seaton Tramway • Severn Valley • Sittingbourne & Kemsley • South Devon • South Tynedale • Spa Valley • Steeple Grange • Swanage • Swindon and Cricklade • Tanfield • Telford • Volk's Electric • Weardale • Wells and Walsingham • Wensleydale • West Somerset • Wisbech and March "Bramleyline" • Yaxham

Centres and Museums:

Barrow Hill Engine Shed • Birmingham Museum • Bressingham Steam Museum • Buckinghamshire Centre • Coventry Centre • Darlington Centre and Museum • Didcot Centre • East Anglian Museum • Mangapps Museum • Moseley Trust • National Museum, York • Rutland Museum • Shildon Museum • Swindon Steam Museum • The Railway Age, Crewe • Walthamstow Pump House

Heritage Railways:

England • Scotland • Wales • Northern Ireland • Isle of Man • Channel Islands