The Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway is a volunteer-run, preserved Heritage Railway which does not receive any grants or subsidies towards running.

We have a few hundred members of all ages – and approximately 25% of whom become actively involved helping us operate our 5 mile-long railway line.  We are always seeking new members – whether you’d like to become actively involved with us or not.  We can provide wonderful opportunities for those with a few hours to spare – see our volunteering page for more information.

Our organisation was initially set up with the intention to preserve the adjacent railway line which runs to Swinden Quarry, near Grassington.  This is the line that was built by the Yorkshire Dales Railway Company.

However, this line did not close (limestone trains from the quarry still use the line today) and so the society switched its attentions to restoring the old Midland Railway route which runs from Skipton, through Embsay, Bolton Abbey and Addingham to Ilkley, which closed in 1965.

The line has been steadily rebuilt by the volunteers as far as Bolton Abbey in the eastwards direction.

Skipton to the west is our next target – the track is already in situ as part of the mineral line which serves Swinden Quarry – and so the challenge for our society is more political rather than physical: We need to acquire the correct permissions to run trains on part of the national network, we need to ensure our rolling stock and locomotives pass the relevant examinations as required, we need to rebuild the appropriate infrastructure at Skipton Station and undertake additional training for our volunteers. Funding which will allow us to do this is another hurdle to negotiate!


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