Sir Nigel Gresley’s A4 Pacifics, or “Streaks” as they were known by trainspotters, were a rare site at Woodlesford. They normally hauled express trains between London Kings Cross and Leeds Central via Wakefield Westgate on the route of the old Great Northern Railway which was absorbed into the London and North Eastern Railway in 1923.
The most famous engine of the class is Mallard which still holds the world record for a steam locomotive at 125.88 miles per hour down Stoke Bank south of Grantham on 3 July 1938. Mallard is preserved at the National Railway Museum.
Here her sister 60030, Golden Fleece heads towards Leeds through Woodlesford, most likely on a Sunday lunchtime diversion in the early 1960s because of the closure of the line somewhere between Doncaster and Leeds Central for engineering work. The train is the Harrogate Sunday Pullman.
Since steam finished on the mainline in 1968 preserved Streaks have also passed through, the most recent example of which was 60019 Bittern on its way from York to Hellifield to pull a Cathedrals Express over the Settle and Carlisle in May 2010.
A series of five DVD’s of Bittern hauling trains in 2010 are available from Ian Allan Book Shops and www.eagle-eye-products.com. The DVD’s feature The Palatine, Great Britain III , The Coronation Parts 1 & 2 and The Cathedrals Express over the Settle and Carlisle.