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BR Dieselisation of the Calder Valley

A document has come to light outlining the British Railways proposals for dieselising the Calder Valley service.   It is undated but refers to passenger receipts for 1958.

It boldly stated “This proposal completes the Diesel  ultiple Unit (DMU )operation of local services in the West Riding and is complementary to the scheme for inter-city services Hull - Leeds - Manchester-Liverpool and local services Leeds -  Manchester via Huddersfield.”

The pattern of services was intended to be:-

Hourly interval service in each direction between Leeds Central and Manchester Victoria calling only at Bradford  Exchange, Halifax, Sowerby Bridge, Todmorden and Rochdale.   Five of these would be extended to/from Liverpool Exchange.

Four daily services between Manchester Victoria and York including one between Liverpool Exchange and York all via Wakefield and the Liverpool - Newcastle

The existing Liverpool Exchange to Newcastle via Todmorden and York with refreshment car facilities would remain loco-hauled.

 Hourly local service between Manchester Victoria and Sowerby Bridge calling at all stations connecting into and out of the fast services at Sowerby Bridge

Two-hourly local service with a few additions Sowerby Bridge to Wakefield.

The one daily Bradford Exchange to Blackpool Central to become dmu.

Thirty units would be required (later entitled class 110, see below) and would release steam locomotives on North Eastern Region (NER): 1 V2, 5 LMS 5MTs, 15 LMS 2-6-4Ts, 1 LMS class 4 2-6-0 and 1 LMS (LYR)  2-4-2T. 


Released on London Midland Region (LMR): 6 LMS class 5MTs, 2 6P/5F 2-6-0s (Crabs), 2  BR Standard class 4 4-6-0s.   The actual locos to be withdrawn as the above were cascaded and redeployed were (NER) 7 D49, 7 A8, 4 J21, 5 LMS 4F and (LMR) 9 LMS 4F.   The LMR would have to find an LMS 8F presumably to work parcels traffic.   The locos displaced were to be fully utilised on other services, in place of the locomotives scrapped.


What we eventually got on 1st January 1962 was a pale shadow of what had been proposed.    Two Manchester Victoria to York, none through from Liverpool.    The hourly service of stopping trains Manchester to Sowerby Bridge vanished replaced by an hourly Manchester Victoria to Rochdale shuttle and the proposed hourly fast trains had stops at Hebden Bridge and/or Littleborough inserted which slowed them down.    As a result Mytholmroyd’s services was very thin.

Between the date of the proposal and implementation of course , Luddendenfoot, Walsden and Smithy Bridge stations had closed which made an hourly Manchester to Sowerby Bridge service less attractive.

The LMR timetable number 117 became merely a Manchester-Sowerby Bridge table with connections for Wakefield, Leeds, Bradford and Halifax shown  --  but not York.

The total of 30 units was of course delivered and the surplus in view of the reduced timetable was usefully employed between Harrogate and Leeds with several of them being through to/from Manchester and even Liverpool.

The Liverpool to Newcastle refreshment car express vanished without trace.

Richard S Greenwood 20 February 2014


Contact Information


Meeting Place: Woolworths Social Club
Gipsy Lane
OL11 3HA

Meeting times


2nd Tuesday in Feb, April, June, August, Oct and December,in The Blue Pits Inn, 842 Manchester Road, Castleton, Rochdale, OL11 2SP