© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011
Many years ago I lived near York, and made one or two visits
to the Derwent Valley Light Railway. The DVLR, like one or
two others, survived the grouping and nationalisation to
retain its independence. Originally running from Layerthorpe,
York to Cliff Common near Selby, line was cut back during the
60s and early 70s until when I first knew it, the terminus was
Dunnington. Here a grain supply business sent barley by rail
to Scotland for distilling. In the mid 70s, growing a little
more adventurous, the line acquired some passenger coaches
and NER-designed J72 no 69023, and began running a
passenger service for tourists. Then, sadly, the grain contract
was lost, and the line closed and was lifted.
At Murton, between York and Dunnington, there is a farm
museum, through whose grounds ran the trackbed of the railway,
and here it is that a group of enthusiasts have put together the
present day operation, with about ¾mile of track. Always
intending to have a look, I was reminded of its existence when
the group's webmaster, Vince Middlebrough, contacted me when
he found one of my snaps of the DVLR station at Dunnington, on
"Geoff's Rail Pages". I was able to furnish him with a number of
pictures of the pre-preservation DVLR, which can be seen on the
society's website. In the meantime, I found myself in York, and
went out to have a look.
Motive power consists mainly of ex-industrial locomotives, apart
from ex-BR 03 079. One of the diesels present is "Churchill", the
diminutive Fowler 0-4-0 which used to shunt the grain wagons at
Dunnington*. It was these two locos which worked the passenger
service on this occasion, topping and tailing a solitary coach and
brake van. The two steam locomotives, a Barclay 0-4-0ST and a
Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST, recently rebuilt as a side tank, see use
on bank holidays.
Currently there is just one station - and what a superb example
of railway preservation it is! The formerly DVLR station building
at Wheldrake has been reconstructed and named "Murton Park".
The line runs westwards to a point just beyond the A64
overbridge, where once a level crossing took the line on to
Layerthorpe. Perhaps one day DVLR trains may run in to York -
the route is still intact.
So if you're in the area, look in at the Derwent Valley, have a
ride, and see the work this friendly bunch have done to recreate
this unique Yorkshire byway.
Derwent Valley Light Railway