Dateline: October 1977: No, it’s not a scene from Thomas the Tank Engine, it’s actually a picture of the Middleton Railway taken by our photographers back in October 1977.
It shows the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor William Hudson, waving off a 1909 Windle 0-4-0 Burrows tank locomotive, which had been restored by the Middleton Light Railway team.
The celebrationary send-off was conducted during a cvic visit to the railway on October 23 of that year.
The railway is regarded as the oldest in the world. Its origins go back to the waggonway linking the mining pits of Charles Brandling to the coal slaith near Leeds Bridge in the years 1758 but the first steam engine to run on the track was in 1811.
The the 1920s, the land was sold to Leeds Council to develop an electric tramway. Middleton Light Railway ran from 1925 to 1959, in which year the preservation society was formed.
Middleton itself ended its association with the mines in 1968 with the closure of Broom Colliery.
The railway is currently taking advance bookings for its Santa Special service. See their website for details.