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Visit the Dales


Railway wagons

Lune Valley Railway
The railway line has long-since closed
Lune Valley Railway


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In the Yorkshire Dales most railway wagons seen today came into agricultural use during the 1960s. This followed the closure of many branch lines after Doctor Beeching's 1963 report, 'The Reshaping of British Railways'. Before this, railway wagons and carriages were utilised elsewhere when they were replaced by more up-to-date rolling stock.

Farmers quickly realised redundant wagons could be ideal small farm buildings. This is very much like how shipping containers are now used as low cost storage.  

What are they made of? 

Most railway wagons were of high quality hardwood timber construction, sometimes with a metal frame. They normally had central sliding side doors. Some also had end doors. The wagons were relatively easy to remove from their underframes. Many were small and light enough to be manoeuvred into often quite remote locations.

Where were the old railway lines?

We think most wagons ended up on farms close to former railway lines, but we don’t know this for certain.

The longest section of disused line in the National Park is in Wensleydale. This is where the North East Railway ran to Hawes and continued on to join with the former Midland Railway on the Settle–Carlisle line.

On the western fringe of the National Park, the North Western Railway line ran through Clapham and Ingleton to Sedbergh. The Yorkshire Dales Railway (also Midland) originally ran to Threshfield.

Further north, the Tebay branch ran from Tebay to Barnard Castle.

The Wensleydale Railway and other lines around the fringes of the Yorkshire Dales transported livestock. The Redmire to Hawes section of the Wensleydale Railway closed to goods and freight traffic in 1964, although passenger services had been withdrawn some five years earlier.  

Recent history 

For the last 50 years reused railway stock has been a characteristic feature of the farming landscape. However examples are gradually disappearing as the ravages of time and lack of maintenance take their toll. Elsewhere in the country railway carriages have been converted into domestic accommodation, shelters or  changing rooms in playing fields. We are keen to learn if there are any examples of such use in the Yorkshire Dales.


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