Ken and Pat Watson

A late 1950s view of the goods yard, the “Up” platform, and signal box.

Ken and Pat Watson grew up in Swillington and lived there for much of their lives. When they were young during the Second World War few people had cars and they remember Woodlesford station when it was normal for families to walk over a mile down the hill to catch the train. 

The delivery area for the station for goods traffic also included Swillington and beyond. Ken was told by his father that a new headstock for the pit at Mount Pleasant was delivered by train and then hauled up the hill by a team of horses in the 1920s.

Live cattle for many of the farms on the north bank of the River Aire were offloaded in the Woodlesford goods yard and herded along Aberford Road and across Swillington Bridge. Ken’s first childhood bananas also arrived on a train, brought from a tropical port by his uncle who was in the Royal Navy.

As a little girl Pat went on a long wartime journey to Bristol starting from Woodlesford and later Ken travelled by train from there to do his National Service in the 1956. A few years later he commuted regularly to West Riding colliery next to the now closed Altofts station which at that time was also managed by the Woodlesford station master. When dense winter fog or heavy snow caused the cancellation of buses Pat remembers using the more reliable train service to journey into Leeds. Pat and Ken’s memories below were recorded in 2006.

Ken and Pat Watson – Woodlesford journeys near and far 

Parcels, pigeons, and a tragic accident at Altofts