Middleton Behind the Scenes Tours;
Saturday 27th October 2018
After the AGM (at which Middleton Railway 'Goody Bags' were handed out), there was the chance to join 'Behind the Scenes' tours around the Moor Road site. Due to the numbers, we were split into three groups. The one I was allocated to started in the Museum housing various locos, mostly built in Leeds. I have been a regular visitor to the Middleton for many years, but even I learnt one or two things - for example, one of the steam locos was named 'Henry De Lacy II', but who was he? Back in the 12th Century, it was common for rich people to use money to try and repent their sins. As the 3rd Earl of Lincoln, he helped acquire the land on which Kirkstall Abbey stands and laid the foundations of the associated church on the land. The loco itself was built and worked in Leeds and has never left the city in which it was built, back in 1917.
We then moved across to the running shed, where minor repairs to locos are carried out. It is the newest building on the Moor Road site, having been completed in 2017. Our group then walked through to the workshop, which is a fantastic facility for a small railway - many larger lines would be envious! Several locos and a coach were even noted as having major rebuilds carried out.
Two other buildings were then visited - one, a purpose built shed, houses 'Picton', which is a Hunslet steam loco which was repatriated from Trinidad some years ago. Although built to run on standard gauge tracks, it is significantly wider than other UK locos, and it is to be restored as a static exhibit in due course. The second building contained a Greenwood & Batley coke oven loco, which was donated to the railway by Monckton Coke & Chemical Company of Royston, where it previously operated. This was the last coke oven locomotive built by Greenwood & Batley, works No420452 of 1979.
All in all, an interesting hour or so, and thanks go to our three guides for showing everyone around.