Pudsey heritage boards unveiled along historic former railway line

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin unveiled the heritage boards in Pudsey. Photo:George Dyker.

By Damon Sugden

New heritage boards highlighting the history of Pudsey’s old railway have been unveiled at a special ceremony.

Organised by volunteers from the Greenside Greenway group, the first is located at the start of the railway bridge on Carlisle Road (overlooking the Greenside tunnel) and the second is located at Crimbles on Lowtown (the site of the former Lowtown Station).

The two information boards recreate the link along the railway line between the former Pudsey Greenside and Lowtown Stations and show maps, a history of Pudsey’s railway in Pudsey and pictures of the old stations.

Victims of the Beeching cuts of the 1960s, Pudsey’s redundant branch line now forms a green corridor through the town. Currently used as a footpath, the Greenside Greenway group is working to re-establish the old railway line as a modern multi-use path and cycle route.

The unveiling was performed by West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin (Lab), a champion of low energy travel. Councillor Trish Smith (Cons, Pudsey), who supported the boards, was also in attendance.

The heritage boards in Pudsey. Photo:George Dyker.

By providing the information panels, the group is ensuring that the important reasons for the railway’s building and use are remembered, and the benefits of having a mass transit system at the heart of the town are understood.

Chairman Andrew Jarosz said: “What a lovely sentiment – we’ve finally got interested in our heritage. We are stood on a magnificent Victorian bridge, we’ve got the cutting behind us and stopped the flytippers for the moment.

“We’ve got an exciting plan to make the whole old track a purpose-built greenway for cyclists, walkers, to welcome the West Yorkshire Mayor to officiate on unveiling these information boards, and also local Councillor Trish Smith who helped in pushing our plans through the Leeds City Council Outer West Community Fund, who have ultimately paid for these.”

Lee Carter and Gary Lemal, from Greenside Greenway, said: “We are looking for tens of thousands to complete the three feasibility phases so that we can progress the route to planning and building.”

Memories: Ralph Middlebrook. Photo: Damon Sugden

Well-known Pudsey resident Ralph Middlebrook contributed his memories of what was known as “the Pudsey loop”. He said: “64 years ago I started work as a booking clerk at Pudsey Greenside railway station which was a hive of activity especially dealing with the delivery of coal and commuter travel.

“The station was well kept under the station master, including Hannah Wood, who lived at Turkey Hill and was designated as a porter/signal woman. When goods trains arrived Hannah would open the signal box to enable the train to reverse into the vast goods yard and the contents be unloaded.

“I also remember well two trips to London by Pudsey Greenside School. Not bad: a through train from Greenside to Kings Cross! 

“Until 1878 the line terminated at Greenside and I had the first ticket number 0001 issue from Pudsey Lowtown to Greenside along with notices of closure which I have donated to the Civic Society for safe keeping.”

In 1878 the tunnel was created and the line was extended to Bradford via Laisterdyke.

Mr Middlebrook added: “The really good news as a cricket fan was that the soil excavated from the tunnel was utilised to create the cricket ground from Tofts Road towards Chapeltown as a new home for the famous Pudsey St Lawrence CC who previously played in and around a ground near Pudsey Park. I congratulate all concerned in erecting this information board, well played.”

The Greenside Greenway group welcomes new members and can be contacted via their Facebook group or by e-mail greensidegreenway@gmail.com.

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin said: “I’ve seen the Spen Valley Greenway and what that can look like with art, music, family cycling, and such a feeling for a community. So I am delighted that you’ve achieved this today.

“Every day you’re all volunteering and giving back to your community, so it’s great to be here. Active travel is very much part of our transport plan.”

Tracy Brabin with Ralph Middlebrook. Photo: George Daker

Cllr Trish Smith added: “This an absolutely fantastic community group, doing great things for all of us so we have better access to cycling and walking. These boards are a small start of a very big project, so well done everyone.”

The Greenside Greenway committee would like to thank the following people:

  • Lee Carter for the layout and putting in over 100 hours of voluntary time to get everything together, and approved by the committee. Lee has specially designed the boards to be easier to read for anyone with dyslexia or similar conditions.
  • Pudsey and District Civic Society for sourcing and supplying both the historical information and photographs.
  • Christine Jopling for the illustrated artwork, and Leeds Signs for the finished installations.
  • Tracy Brabin, West Yorkshire Mayor, and Pudsey Ward Councillor Trish Smith for their support. The Outer West Community Committee is made up of nine councillors from Calverley & Farsley, Farnley & Wortley and Pudsey wards.

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