East of Pontefract Monkhill


Here we take a look at the lines which centre on Monkhill Station in the northern part of the town. The first main line to pass through the town was that of the Wakefield, Pontefract and Goole Railway (later absorbed into the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway) which opened in 1848. Two important branches were also constructed – from Knottingley to Doncaster (1848) and Pontefract to Methley (for Leeds) in 1849. Thus Pontefract and Knottingley became an elongated ‘crossroads’ on the railway network with the Leeds-Doncaster route intersecting the Wakefield-Goole route at both places.

This 1956 picture almost has the look of a model railway as it depicts the archetypal late nineteenth-century goods locomotive with ten varying goods wagons ambling down the line to Knottingley near Stumpcross Lane. This kind of traffic has long gone from the railway scene but it goes back to a time when railways were general carriers and, in the same way that there were local stopping passenger trains, there were also local goods services picking up miscellaneous wagon-loads at intermediate stations. This particular picture is of the morning transfer goods from Monkhill to Knottingley and is hauled by one of the indigenous Lancashire and Yorkshire Class 3F 0-6-0’s No 52305. This was an obvious photographic vantagepoint with various pieces of infrastructure on the left to provide extra interest. The houses in Nevison were fairly new at the time and are visible in the right background.

Photograph copyright © Peter Cookson