Pontefract Loop Line

The Pontefract loop line was a branch from the Midland and North Eastern joint station at Baghill to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway station at Monkhill and was opened in 1880 but was never extensively used.

A passenger service from Leeds (N.E.) to Pontefract Baghill via Garforth and Castleford ran from 1880 to 1926 but after that it was not used for regular passenger trains until reopened in 1960 for another Baghill to Leeds service; this time to Leeds Central, but closed again in 1964 when the Beeching cuts closed the Methley joint line to passenger traffic.

Between 1926 and closure the line was used for excursion, goods, special and relief traffic and the pictures here show some of these. For many years seaside excursions ran from the Kippax area via Castleford and Pontefract Baghill to Cleethorpes and whenever possible I made the effort to photograph them on the branch. This picture shows a 1959 excursion at a time when the branch was more or less closed. Special arrangements were in force here as the train is passing signals at danger, but under the watchful eye of a railwayman (visible between the third and fourth coaches) who has clamped the points in place to allow the train to pass safely. The signals were probably out of use as the signal box at the junction had been closed. Control later passed to Pontefract South signal box when the branch was re-laid and reopened in 1960.

Photograph copyright Peter Cookson