D30 runs light engine through Woodlesford on a sunny but cold winter’s day, 28 December 1967. The headcode 0N00 indicates a “light” diesel engine to the North Eastern Region, most probably returning to Holbeck shed in Leeds after a trip to Sheffield or possibly Toton marshalling yard near Nottingham. Photo by Gerry Firth.

In the 1950s and 60s as diesel locomotives took over from steam, the major express trains to and from London, the Midlands, and the West Country gradually became diesel hauled through Woodlesford. Many of the engine types were given nicknames by trainspotters. For instance the Sulzer Type 4 engines, built at Derby and introduced in 1960 as part of British Railways’ “modernisation” plan, were called “Peaks” because the first ten were named after English and Welsh mountains. The Sulzer Type 2 engines were given the name “Rats” because they seen all over the county and were “as common as rats.” One railway historian says they were also known, mostly by their drivers, as “Spluts” because they spluttered when they broke down, “which they often did.” (For other photos of diesels in the area see “Steam Age Diesels Across Yorkshire” by Peter Cookson and Gerry Firth.)

A freight train, probably originating from Leeds Hunslet Lane, heads south through Woodlesford hauled by a Type 2 diesel electric locomotive. The headcode 5Z47 indicates that it’s a special class 5 freight, which was defined as “an express freight, partly fitted, with the automatic brake operative on not less than half the vehicles”. The station was manned and the signal box was still open when this photo was taken by Gerry Firth. The poster says “Go Inter-City to London,” and just visible in the foreground is a metal framed parcels barrow. By this time the station buildings and signal box were all painted in the distinctive British Railways North Eastern Region orange, white and blue colour scheme.
A Peak on a gloomy Sunday afternoon in the early 1960s. The train, with headcode 1N31, is the 1000 departure from Birmingham via Sheffield which was scheduled to arrive in Leeds at 1342. The round objects in front of the station building windows are wooden barrels cut in half and used for growing flowers. They were part of the entry into the annual North Eastern Region station garden competitions. Photo by Derek Rayner.
A Type 2, pictured by Bill Holliday, heading towards Leeds on the embankment between Woodlesford and Methley.
An unidentified Sulzer Type 4 passes through carrying a headboard and a headcode, which appears to be 1S68, suggesting it’s the northbound Thames Clyde Express passing through just before 2.30 p.m. The train reversed at Leeds City station before continuing its journey to Scotland via the Settle and Carlisle line. The southbound train also ran through Leeds at about the same time and passed through Woodlesford about 3 p.m. Photo by John Wright.