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1. The Pennine Rail Tour Special

On 5th May 1951, the Manchester Locomotive Society and the Stephenson Locomotive Society (North Western Area) jointly ran the "Pennine_Railtour". It was an important date in MLS history because it was the first to be organised by the two Societies and the 3-coach train carried 140 passengers (of whom 41 were actually MLS members) on its 60-mile journey around the Huddersfield area. The tour train (Reporting No. C940)  travelled over five branches which had been closed to passenger traffic: those to Meltham (picture above), Kirkburton, the Newtown Goods line in Huddersfield, then to Stainland and to Rishworth.

The tour commenced at Huddersfield at 2pm and visited the goods yards at Meltham, Kirkburton, and Newtown thence to Sowerby Bridge and Ripponden before re-tracing the route back to Huddersfield, arriving just after 7pm.

It was hauled (and propelled in places) by ex~L&YR 2-4-2T No.50865 built at Horwich Works in January 1901, allocated to Southport shed. The formation was of three open saloons which were part of the Southport Residential set. Above,  tour pauses at West Vale en route from Stainland to Greetland.

This is Stainland. The wonderful stock, painted in LMS livery, is shown to good effect in this view.

The railtour participants explore the environs of Newtown Goods Yard in Huddersfield. The fellow in the white overcoat doing the balancing act on the bridge girder would give todays health and safety executive palpitations!

The photographs are by Harold Bowtell, the MLS representative on the organising committee  for this tour and many others.

The Mancunian, the MLS journal, issue no. 224 (2001) included a detailed report on the tour and the lines it traversed,  as well as the traffic notice and cuttings from the local press of the day. A PDF copy of the article can be downloaded here.

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Last update May 2019. Comments welcome: