Flying Scotsman

A large crowd turned out to watch Flying Scotsman heading south through Woodlesford station. (Photo by Dave Fallowfield).

The world famous Flying Scotsman was a regular visitor to Leeds during its mainline career from 1923 to 1963, first for the London and North Eastern Railway and then the nationalised British Railways. It’s not known for certain if it passed through Woodlesford during that time as its regular route was on the Great Northern line from Doncaster through Wakefield Westgate to the old Leeds Central station, hauling trains like the White Rose express between Leeds and London Kings Cross.

However, it may have run through Woodlesford in that era as it’s known that during engineering work trains were often diverted from the Great Northern line to run via Normanton into Leeds City station.

After 1963, when the locomotive was bought by Alan Pegler and preserved, it was seen passing through Woodlesford several times, notably on Saturday 23 March1968 when it’s likely that the photographs on this page were taken. The train was an Ian Allan special called The Bronte which ran from London St. Pancras to Keighley for passengers to visit the newly established Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, although they had to travel on to Haworth by bus as the line was not yet operational.

Another occasion when Flying Scotsman passed through Woodlesford was on Friday 16 June 1978 when it ran from Hellifield, accompanied by 990 Henry Oakley, both on their way to Doncaster Works for a celebration of its 125th anniversary.

Flying Scotsman heading north through Woodlesford with a special train in the late 1960s. In the foreground, whistling a salute, is Water Haigh Colliery’s shunting engine, Whit No. 4. Water Haigh Farm is in the background. (Photo by Derek Rayner).