Mark’s History: A lost railway bridge on the River Aire

where bridge crossed river Aire
Roughly where the bridge crossed the River Aire. Photo: Mark Stevenson

As you walk under Kirkstall Viaduct heading towards town, if you look down towards the river you will notice how the river bank flattens out, writes Mark Stevenson.

Noticing that someone had made some very dodgy steps leading from the canal to the river, I decided to go down and have a look.

steps river aire
These must be the dodgiest steps EVER! Photo: Mark Stevenson

First thing I noticed was some large stonework built along the river bank, so I walked down along the river bank to see what else I could find.

stonework river aire
Stonework from a bygone era. What could it have been used for? Photo: Mark Stevenson

I noticed a long trench where someone had dug up the old electric cable and used the stone safety covers of the cable to make the steps.

trench kirkstall valley
Cable was taken from here. Photo: Mark Stevenson

Further on there was a kind of camp where all the plastic had been burnt off the cable.

the camp kirkstall valley
Some sort of camp? Photo: Mark Stevenson

It was not until I came to the new housing estate near Spring Garden Locks that I could go no further, the land being flat the whole way.

When I got home and looked at the old maps, they showed a railway that ran from near Wellington Bridge all the way up to the old Perseverance Iron Works, near Viaduct Road.

The flat ground is the old track bed and the stonework I had seen was where the track crossed the river over a long-gone bridge into the works.

where bridge crossed river Aire
Roughly where the bridge crossed the River Aire. Photo: Mark Stevenson


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