Following the disappointments of 2020, we hope to be able to run our Santa Specials for 2021, but the continuing impact of the corona virus pandemic means that it is still far too early for us to announce any definite plans. Indeed, until we have actually started running any sort of train services, even if only post-lockdown ones, we will have little idea of what might be possible.

So please watch this space, and we will announce details of what we may be able to offer just as soon as we realistically can.


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Normally we would have planned a programme of special events for 2021, and details of each of these events would have been given below. The impact of the corona virus pandemic means, however, that we currently have no idea of whether or not we will be able to run any special events, and so we can not provide any details at this stage.

If it becomes possible to plan events with some assurance that we will be able to run them, then we will do so and will announce the details here. So watch out for details of any such events, which will be added to this page as they are fixed.

If you are interested in some of the previous events that we have run, then details of selected ones are available, and a separate page describes these.

As an indication, some of the ideas for events that we would like to plan if circumstances permit are as follows:

  • an event to mark the return to service of the Sentinel, and possibly focus on our other ex-main line locomotives;
  • a model railway exhibition, although not as large a one as our usual exhibition;
  • a "Star Rails" event, although again on a smaller scale than in previous years; and
  • an an Autumn Gala event.

One event that will certainly not be running in 2021 is a SteamPunk event, for reasons that are explained on the website of the Leeds SteamPunk Market. They are, however, hoping to be able to make a social visit to the railway on Sunday 4th July, and we hope that by then our trains will be running, so that we will be able to welcome them.

Our "Works Outing" event was held on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th September 2019, based (as far as is practical, given the limits on the availability of crews) on the slogan "if it works it gets an outing". It featured a variety of operating patterns, including mixed traffic workings (ie with passenger and goods vehicles in the one train). All the locomotives were drawn from our own fleet, and since this was also the heritage open weekend there was a particular emphasis on our heritage locomotives. Those that ran in the course of the two days were:

  • HC 1544 "Slough Estates No. 3";
  • MW 1601 "Matthew Murray";
  • HC D631 "Carroll";
  • HE 1697 "John Alcock";
  • HE 1786 "Courage"; and
  • HC D1373 "Mersey Docks & Harbour Board No. 45".




"Slough Estates No. 3", departing from the Moor Road platform at a previous gala.

Picture © Tony Cowling 2017.

Saturday and Sunday Services

On both days a special timetable was operated, providing an intensive service over both our main passenger line and the little-used Balm Road branch. Two train sets will be in operation, with one running as a goods train where passengers could travel in the guard's brake van.

There was a variety of patterns of operation, including some trains that had a locomotive at each end, and some that were double-headed. The first train departed at 10.30 am and the last one arrived at 4.30 pm.

Full details of the timetable are available, including the scheduled locomotives for each train, as a pdf file, which will open in a new browser tab or window (ready to be downloaded): click here to access this.

Special fares applied for each day, namely £7.50p for an adult, £3.50p for a child and £20 for a family ticket (covering up to 2 adults and 3 children). The various travel concessions that apply to our normal train services did not, however, apply for this event.

Our normal range of refreshments was available on each day, including hot and cold drinks and sweets and a range of sandwiches.

HC D1373



HC D1373 Mersey Docks & Harbour Board No. 45, pictured soon after arrival on the Middleton Railway.

Picture © Tony Cowling 2017.

Whilst every effort will be made to provide the advertised services, The Middleton Railway Trust Ltd. reserves the right to amend or cancel any service without prior notice and accepts no liability whatsoever for any inconvenience, loss or disappointment caused, including travel expenses.

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To make up for having had to bring forward by a week the dates for our "Works Outing" gala, we ran a special Heritage Diesel weekend on 21st and 22nd September 2019. This featured two of our heritage diesel locomotives running on each day, including running down the little-used Balm Road branch.

On each day normal fares applied, but a special timetable was in operation, as follows.

Moor Road Depart Balm Road Arrive Balm Road Depart Moor Road Arrive Moor Road Depart Park Halt Arrive Park Halt Depart Moor Road Arrive
11:00 11:05 11:07 11:12 11:20 11:28 11:35 11:45
11:50 11:55 11:57 12:02 12:10 12:18 12:25 12:35
12:40 12:45 12:47 12:52 13:00 13:08 13:15 13:25
14:00 14:05 14:07 14:12 14:20 14:28 14:35 14:45
14:50 14:55 14:57 15:02 15:10 15:18 15:25 15:35
15:40 15:45 15:47 15:52 16:00 16:08 16:15 16:25


Which locomotives operated on each day was fixed nearer the date, once we were sure that qualified crews were available. The actual turns were as follows.

 Turn  Locomotive
 Saturday 21st September, Loco 1   HC D1373 Mersey Docks & Harbour Board 45 
 Saturday 21st September, Loco 2  HE 1786 Courage
 Sunday 22nd September, Loco 1  HE 1697 John Alcock
 Sunday 22nd September, Loco 2  HC D577 Mary


LMS 7051



HE 1697 John Alcock (LMS 7051) on a special train at the Gala event for the 50th anniversary of the preservation of the Middleton Railway, in 2010.

Picture © Tony Cowling 2010.

Please note that, while every effort will be made to run the scheduled locomotive(s) on each day, we can not guarantee to be able to do so, and the Railway reserves the right to alter, cancel or suspend any train without notice. No liability is accepted for any loss, inconvenience or delay caused, either by having to operate with an alternative locomotive or by any alteration cancellation or suspension of the Railway's train services.

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This was a special event for children, which featured the following activities:

  • characters in costume;
  • face painting; and
  • painting of plaques.

As well as these, trains ran to the normal timetable, and provided an opportunity to visit Middleton Park. Also our usual range of light refreshments was available.

Special fares were charged for this event, as follows.

  • One adult, with up to two accompanying children: £9.00p;
  • Additional children: £4.00p each.

Note that all children must be accompanied by some adult.