Ossett-Batley railway

Ossett-Batley railway

In 1864, the West Yorkshire Railway made an end-on connection with a branch of the Bradford Wakefield & Leeds Railway at Ossett. This created a through route from Wakefield Westgate to Batley and resulted in a new station opening in Ossett, closer to the town centre. The original terminus of the BW&L branch was then renamed Flushdyke.

On 1st May 1874, the Great Northern opened a spur from Runtings Lane Junction at Ossett to its new goods depot on Railway Street in Dewsbury. This facility survived until 1933 but the line serving it was reopened by BR between 1965-95. April 1880 saw the GN complete a ‘loop’ line to Batley via Dewsbury which was used by somes services between Bradford and London King’s Cross.

The route featured three short tunnels – Earlsheaton (179yds), Leeds Road (Dewsbury)(213yds) and Batley Carr (161yds). The section from Dewsbury Central Station towards Batley involved a rising gradient of 1:53 to the north, with the tracks accommodated above a retaining wall almost 400 yards in length. It then dived under the LNWR Dewsbury-Batley line before launching itself over the valley on a viaduct comprising a plate girder span, five masonry arches, a second girder span and another stone arch. This ran parallel, but at a lower level, with the LNWR’s Batley Viaduct. Beyond this is the station which formerly had its own island platform for loop trains.

Eastwards from Earlsheaton, the tracks were carried on an embankment as far as Runtings Lane Junction and then again between the junction and a bridge over The Green in Ossett. This led to the town’s substantial station with goods facilities.

Stopping passenger services were withdrawn in September 1964 with goods traffic continuing until the following February.

The entrance facade to Dewsbury Central has been preserved and sections of the trackbed towards Ossett are used as a footpath. Plans are being progressed for a continuous walking route between the two towns via Earlsheaton Tunnel. Batley Carr Tunnel has been backfilled south of its central ventilation shaft, with the other half used by a scrapyard. The tunnel beneath Leeds/Wakefield Road was opened out when Dewsbury’s ring road was built. Batley Viaduct was demolished in the 1980s. Only the station house survives on the site of Ossett Station, which now hosts a housing estate.

(Ben Brooksbank’s photo is used under this Creative Commons licence.)

March 2011