Holbeck viaduct line

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martinu
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed 22 Aug, 2018 6:45 pm

Holbeck viaduct line

Postby martinu » Thu 23 Aug, 2018 10:20 am

I've always wondered why the LNWR built the Holbeck viaduct line that branched off at Farnley & Wortley station, ran on a long viaduct and entered Leeds City station after crossing the Midland line.

It seems to offer an alternative route for trains from Dewsbury to enter Leeds City. I could have understood its purpose better if it had instead been connected to the line from Wakefield (as it was in later years) to allow trains from Wakefield that would normally have gone into Leeds Central, a way of going into Leeds City instead.

Was the level of traffic on the Dewsbury line so high that two routes were needed to reduce the amount of time that trains heading for Shipley, Bradford, Skipton and Harrogate came into conflict with trains travelling from Dewsbury?

When was the viaduct line finally taken out of use? I can remember seeing HSTs stabled there in the 1980s, but I presume it was not used as a through route by that time.
jim
Posts: 1821
Joined: Sun 17 May, 2009 10:09 am

Re: Holbeck viaduct line

Postby jim » Thu 23 Aug, 2018 11:40 am

The viaduct line was built in the days before the 1923 grouping when Britain had around 120 separate railway companies. Often companies building new railways had to obtain running powers over other companies lines to run to places they wished to access, and be treated as interlopers and as "second best" when it came to running priorities. The LNWR (and its constituents) built the Huddersfield line, which originally ran to Leeds Central, along with three other companies. Difficulties made the LNWR change its mind, and build the Geldard curve which joined the Leeds and Bradford Midland Railway line to Leeds Wellington (Later Leeds City North, now the car park). Eventually the stretch of the line round the Canal curve to Leeds Wellington (only two tracks at the time) became so overloaded, with new connections from other railways added as well, that the LNWR, who by now connected with the NER joint station at Leeds New (the present Leeds City) built the viaduct line to avoid the situation, Even without the LNWR the Midland had to provide two more tracks to deal with the traffic which built up on its line to Wellington. The closure of Leeds Central in the 1960s along with the later return of the Huddersfield line trains and the subsequent increase in the remaining services eventually meant that ANOTHER two lines were eventually essential in comparatively recent times. The sheer volume of trains at both ends of Leeds City remains as a problem for operators.

The viaduct line (opened 1882) was diverted to join the GNR Wakefield/London railway in 1967, when the Huddersfield trains returned to the Geldard curve, Eventually the condition of the viaduct (not sure, but the extra length carriages and consequent inadequate clearances on the heavily curved viaduct may have been the cause) gave sufficient cause for concern to require the return of the GNR line trains to their current route. I'm afraid I don't have a date for this last event, but late 70s/early 80s would seem to be about right.
martinu
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed 22 Aug, 2018 6:45 pm

Re: Holbeck viaduct line

Postby martinu » Thu 23 Aug, 2018 12:31 pm

I'd never noticed until I looked on a 25"/mile map (thanks to National Library of Scotland) that the Huddersfield line went both to Central (via Holborn HL) and to City via the Gelderd curve. I'd thought it only ever went to City.

So the viaduct line was built to reduce traffic at Holbeck, Whitehall and Leeds Junctions. I can see why this would be needed: the 25" map just shows two tracks between Whitehall and Leeds, which wasn't many for all the Huddersfield (LNWR) and Shipley (Midland) services.

I hadn't realised that after 1967, most of the Wakefield/Doncaster trains used the viaduct line rather than the newly-constructed curve that is used nowadays.

Before 1967, were there many destinations that could be reached by trains either from Central or City? I believe Harrogate trains (via the Horsforth route) went from both, and it sounds as if Huddersfield trains may have done. I'd always thought it was fairly clear-cut: Central for Wakefield/Doncaster and Bradford Exchange routes, and City for everything else.
jim
Posts: 1821
Joined: Sun 17 May, 2009 10:09 am

Re: Holbeck viaduct line

Postby jim » Thu 23 Aug, 2018 2:09 pm

Central also served Manchester and Lancashire destinations via Low Moor, Halifax, and Rochdale (bypassing Bradford via the Laisterdyke/Bowling Juction L&Y route), Ilkley via Arthington, Poole and Otley, and Middlesborough, Sunderland, Durham, Newcastle and Edinburgh via the Leeds Northern route via Harrogate and Ripon. Huddersfield was only served for about a year before the passenger services were transferred, though freight from that line was worked to the LNWR/L&YR high and low level yards adjacent to Central at Wellington Street

martinu
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed 22 Aug, 2018 6:45 pm

Re: Holbeck viaduct line

Postby martinu » Thu 23 Aug, 2018 3:39 pm

I've often wonderd why the Laisterdyke to Bowling bypass was ever removed. Is there no longer any freight on the Bradford Exchange/Interchange route that would find it a pain to have to reverse and run the loco round at Bradford?


Given the number of routes that used Leeds Central rather than City, I'm surprised that New/Wellington/City was so large.
jim
Posts: 1821
Joined: Sun 17 May, 2009 10:09 am

Re: Holbeck viaduct line

Postby jim » Thu 23 Aug, 2018 4:11 pm

Don't think there is any freight traffic on the Exchange route - if there is, it would only be minimal and not full train length.

I think that the number of trains running from Leeds City was substantially larger than those from Central. Part of my job with the ODM department included renewing the old hand-wound roller blinds every six monhs or so, and I know which blinds were longer, and by how much. The Central blinds were a doddle to fit, whilst the City blinds had an undortunate tendency to drift sideways owing to the considerably greater length!

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