Leeds 2’ gauge line
Abbey Light Railway
11 May 2003  
A regular service of electric trains runs along the Aire valley route from Leeds to Skipton. Just a few miles out of Leeds, close by the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, is another much smaller railway. Essentially the results of the efforts of one man and his family, the Abbey Light Railway is a short 2' gauge line, with an interesting and varied selection of ex- industrial diesels - oh, and a solitary battery- electric. I had been aware of its existence for some time - "must have a look one of these days". Today was one of "these days". (it started out more like one of those days - I'd forgotten the OS map, and it was the Leeds marathon - lots of road closures, and none of the road signs seemed to mention Kirkstall....) A service of trains operates at frequent intervals (there is no formal timetable) from about 2pm on Sundays and bank holidays, along the wooded route from Bridge Road, where the depot is located, to Kirkstall Abbey station. Our train consisted of three covered coaches and a locomotive at each end - "Odin", a Motor
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
Rail (5859 of 1934, ex Arnolds, Leighton Buzzard) and a Ruston - RH 235654 of 1946 (ex Goxhill tileries, near the Humber Bridge). Other locomotives, in varying states of repair, include the products of Hunslet, Hudson, Lister, Baguley (the oldest locomotives on the line), Muir Hill and Orenstein and Koppel - quite a collection! An "old friend" was "Druid", MR 8644 of 1941, much rebuilt from the state in which I snapped it while at Hemingbrough Brickworks near Selby. It doesn't take long to sample the delights of this most attractive and friendly little line, but it deserves support - if you're in the area, do it! Footnote: Sadly, the Abbey Light Railway’s owner, Peter Lowe, died in 2012. The rolling stock has gone to other railways, the track has been lifted, and the railway has gone.
Out on the line RH 235654 of 46 at Kirkstall Abbey station "Odin" MR5859 of 1934 at Kirkstall Abbey station The train - Bridge Road station "Druid" MR8644 of 1941 GB 2848 of 1957, and Baguley 760 of 1918 Crossing the stream - RH Crossing the stream - MR Abbey Light Railway crest on GB2848