Sheffield Stopper

Stanier Class 5 45211 with a Leeds – Sheffield (via Cudworth) local. July 1964. Photo by Alan Bailey.

On weekdays and Saturdays in the 1960s there were about four steam hauled stopping passenger trains in each direction between Leeds station and Sheffield Midland.

They ran on the original North Midland Railway route and after Woodlesford the southbound, or Up, trains called at Altofts & Whitwood, Normanton, Royston & Notton, Cudworth, and all stations to Sheffield Midland via Rotherham Masborough. There had been other local destinations but gradually they lost their train service. Methley North closed in 1957 and a station serving the villages of Sandal and Walton near Wakefield was shut in 1961. On the way into Leeds Hunslet closed in 1960.

A return to Hunslet.

There were usually four or five carriages on the trains. The driver of southbound services normally stopped the engine with one of the carriages standing on the Aberford Road bridge so the rear of the train was clear of the foot crossing between the platforms.

Often the two early evening services had a guard’s compartment full of parcels for Woodlesford which could take up to ten minutes to unload before being carried across the crossing on barrows.

The stoppers were hauled by a variety of engines ranging from the small 0-6-0 Fowler 4Fs to the more modern Britannia Pacifics. Some of the early morning and evening trains originated at or terminated at Normanton or Cudworth.

Jubilee engine 45658 “Keyes” of Holbeck shed is standing on the “Up” line at the station whilst Stourton shed’s Stanier 8F 48394 passes on the “Down” line with a “trip” working of coal wagons departing from Water Haigh colliery. Photo Derek Rayner.
Royal Scot engine, 46162 Queen’s Westminster Riflemen, arrives at Woodlesford on 31 May 1962 with the 18.09 “Mill Girls Special” from Leeds to Normanton, Cudworth and Sheffield. Photo by Peter Rose.
Hauled by Fowler 4F 44099, based at Royston shed, this train is arriving at Leeds Wellington station at 08.10 on Saturday 23 June 1962. It had left Cudworth at 07.26 and had picked up at Royston & Notton, Normanton, and Altofts & Whitwood before departing from Woodlesford at 07.59.