Nidd Valley Railway reborn as Illingworth steams again

ACCLAIMED vintage coach restorer Stephen Middleton has now added his own locomotive to his fleet, after a restoration that cost him £200,000 and 22 years’ work.

The May bank holiday weekend saw former Nidd Valley Light Railway Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST No. 1208 of 1916 Illingworth/Mitchell run in passenger traffic for the first time in the heritage era, and hauling its first trains in 60 years. It hauled the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway’s rake of six three-wheeled coaches prior to it being returned to the workshops to be painted green.

It has taken owner Stephen Middleton 22 years, but Illingworth/Mitchell, the sole surviving locomotive from the Nidd Valley Light Railway, is now back in action. STEPHEN MIDDLETON

The Nidd Valley Light Railway was owned by Bradford Corporation Waterworks Department. It was built to 3ft gauge in 1903 for the building of Angram Reservoir, but was converted to standard gauge four years later when it opened as a public passenger-carrying line.

It ran from Nidd Junction, on the Harrogate to Ripon line, to Pateley Bridge and had five intermediate stations: Ripley Valley, Hampsthwaite, Birstwith, Darley and Dacre.

The corporation used second-hand locomotives and carriages from the Metropolitan Railway, and in 1920 decided to build a second reservoir at Scar House. The railway was upgraded, with more locomotives bought including a railmotor for the public services.

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