Honouring preservation’s ‘first’ lady of steam!

THE Middleton Railway held a memorial event for Susan Youell, the wife of the line’s founder, at Moor Road on March 28.

Susan was the wife of Fred Youell and was very active with the pioneering standard gauge heritage railway scheme from the outset, and she became the secretary of the Association of Railway Preservation Societies, the forerunner of today’s Heritage Railway Association.

Just after noon, a special train hauled by Hudswell-Clarke 0-4-0DM D577 Mary – Susan’s middle name – departed for Middleton Park, where her ashes were scattered.

The train then returned to Moor Road where a new plaque in memory of both Susan and Fred was unveiled inside the Engine House. Susan was born on January 15, 1931, the eldest child of John Harold Atherley, a chemist and Dorothy Jeffery, a baker’s daughter in Nottingham. Her wider family were avid railway fanatics and, unusually for a girl at that time, Susan shared their passion, proud of having seen Gresley’s Pacifics during LNER days.

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