Special trains to celebrate volunteers on oldest railway

THE world's oldest working railway, the Middleton Railway in Hunslet, Leeds, is marking the 50th anniversary of being run solely by volunteers.

On Saturday and Sunday the railway will mark the occasion via a celebratory weekend with a range of special train services.

The Middleton Railway was established in 1758 and has been run solely by volunteers since 1960 when students from Leeds University saved the line from closure. Since then, loyal volunteers have been providing their service unpaid.

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To commemorate the milestone visitors will be able to take passenger rides in an open coal wagon or a brakevan. The traditional wagons were more commonly used in the early days of the Middleton Railway to transport freight, but have been brought back to life especially for the 50th anniversary celebrations.

Visitors will also be able to hop on one of the fully operational industrial steam or diesel locomotives and take a ride up to Park Halt. An extra service will be running during the anniversary weekend that takes in a more industrial route down Balm Road, which was used in the early years of the railway when freight was exchanged at the old British Rail Hunslet sidings.

Chairman of the Middleton Railway Trust Andrew Gill said: "Some of our dedicated volunteers have helped out here for years, so this anniversary means a lot to everyone at the railway and it is definitely something we are all very proud of."

Steam and diesel locomotives run 10am to 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday. For more information call 0113 271 0320 or on email via [email protected] or visit the website at www.middletonrailway.org.uk