Santa with train

We are now taking advance bookings for our Santa Special trains - Click here for more details.

You can book online for trains where seats are still available.

Each year we run a significant programme of special events. and some of these are sufficiently memorable that we think that some details of them are worth recording.

This page therefore contains the record of the significant special events that we have run during the last couple of years, with the most recent ones at the top of the list.


Heritage Open Weekend

Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th September 2022

heritage open days logo

Heritage Open Days

Find out More about our Industrial Heritage

For the second weekend of the nation-wide "Heritage Open Days" event, we offered illustrated in-person talks about this historic site, on the railway where the world’s very first successful, load-hauling steam locomotive ran in the year of 1812.

The talks lasted some 20 to 25 minutes and ran hourly from 10.00 to 3.00 p.m. on each day. There was no charge for these talks, and no need to book for them. They took visitors briefly through our history, from the working of the coal outcrops in Middleton Woods in mediaeval times, via the country’s first wooden (horse-drawn) railway in the eighteenth century and the revolutionary steam loco “Salamanca” - arguably, Leeds’ premier contribution to the Industrial Revolution - to the present situation as the country‘s first standard-gauge preserved railway. After that, visitors were welcome to buy a ticket and ride on our trains!

The normal timetable operated on both days, and the normal fares applied.


Children's Day

Saturday 20th August 2022

princesses and pirates

Princesses and Pirates

For Princesses and Pirates

A special day for children, with free activities, including face painting, activity sheets, interactive stories, treasure hunts and dance classes.

The face painting and activity sheets were available all day. The story telling was in the platform shelter, starting 15 minutes before each train departed, and then there was a treasure hunt on each train. The dancing started out on the mezzanine floor, but this got sufficiently warm that the later sessions were moved into the conference room. The sessions were at 11:00, 11:45, 12:20 and 14:50.

Special children's lunch boxes were available, at £3.50 each. Also sandwiches for adults, at £2.25.

Diesel trains ran, and the normal timetable applied.

Normal fares applied for adults (ie £7 each), but there was a special fare of £1 for each child (ie aged between 3 and 15 inclusive). This special fare for children included all of the activities.


Leeds Classic Bus Running Day

Sunday 14th August 2022

a bus in the 2018 day

A bus at the railway, taking part in the 2018 day

Rides on vintage Leeds buses

This event returned after a break caused by CoViD.

It saw vintage Leeds City Transport buses, and others, running on routes through the city that linked up local museums.

Diesel trains ran (because of the fire risk), and the normal timetable and fares applied.  A separate page gives more details of this event.


Model Railway Exhibition

Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd July 2022

a model railway layout

A layout at a previous exhibition

See the Models alongside the Real Thing

This is now a well established event, and it returned after a covid-enforced break. Our Model Railway Exhibition featured both models and the real thing in action. There was an opportunity to drive one of our locos, as well as see our museum full of layouts.

Steam trains ran on both days, and the normal timetable applied. Special fares applied, and a separate page gives more details of this event.


Transport Walk

Sunday 19th June 2022

a tram in Middleton Woods

A tram on the route that ran through Middleton Woods

A guided walk round some of the old transport routes through Middleton Park

The walk was organised by the Friends of Middleton Park, and led by one of our members. It started at 13:30, near the visitor centre, and finished at 15:30. It included:

  • 1750s coal wagonways, which were used to move wagons downhill by gravity and return the empty wagons by horse;
  • the electric tramway, initially constructed to get building materials to the new housing between the wars; and
  • a section of the Great Northern Railway route that skirted round south Leeds.

Our usual timetable and fares applied.


Queen's Platinum Jubilee Celebration

Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th June 2022

cream tea poster

Join the Celebrations

Celebrating 70 Years

Diesel trains ran on Saturday and steam trains on Sunday. The normal timetable applied, but on the Sunday afternoon there were two extra trains for the benefit of visitors to the event in Middleton Park. These departed from Moor Road at 16:10 and 16:50, and from Park Halt at 16:25 and 17:05 respectively.

The following special fares applied.

  • Adults over 70: 70p;
  • Other Adults: £7;
  • Children: 70p.

platinum jubilee logo


Teddy Bears Picnic and Bluebell Walks

Saturday 30th April, Sunday 1st and Monday 2nd May 2022

bluebells

The teddy bears in the woods

Bring your Teddies to see the Bluebells

On Sunday and Monday some trains were met at Middleton Park for a family-friendly walk round the Bluebell displays. Each walk gave a chance to explore the woods and see the Bluebells with an experienced local guide.

We had hoped to also run walks on Saturday 30th April, but shortage of staff meant that this was not possible. It also meant that on the Saturday we were not able to start running trains until 13:30.

The Friends of Middleton Park ran the walks in Middleton Park on 1st and 2nd May. On each day they met the following trains at Park Halt.

  • The 11:10 departure from Moor Road;
  • the 12:30 departure from Moor Road; and
  • the 14:10 departure from Moor Road.

Children with a teddy bear travelled free.

The normal fare applied for children without a teddy bear, but we gave them a teddy bear.

On the Sunday and Monday:

  • for adults a selection of sandwiches was available, at £2.25p each; and
  • for children a teddy bear's picnic box was available, at £3.50p each. This contained a sandwich, a piece of fruit, a packet of Pom Bears crisps, a drink and a cake bar. It also contained an activity sheet and some crayons.

Diesel trains ran on Saturday, starting at 13:30, and steam trains on Sunday and Monday, starting at 10:30. The normal timetable and adult fares applied, apart from the late start on the Saturday.


Easter Weekend

Saturday 16th, Sunday 17th and Monday 18th April 2022

easter bunny and chocolate eggs

Easter chocolate

Free Easter Chocolate for Children

Diesel trains ran on Saturday, and steam trains on Sunday and Monday.

For children travelling on the train services and accompanied by a fare-paying adult, we gave away free chocolate.

The normal timetable and fares applied.


Community Day

Saturday 2nd April 2022

creating a community

A community

Come and Find Out about Local Groups

Perhaps Get Involved?

A day aimed at our local communities, where visitors could come and explore what they do.

The following organisations were represented:

  • Middleton Life History Group,
  • Friends of Middleton Park,
  • Middleton Park Equestrian Centre,
  • Hunslet TARA (Tenants and Residents Association),
  • South Leeds Life,
  • West Yorkshire Police,
  • West Yorkshire Fire Brigade (with a Fire Engine attending, when it was not required elsewhere).

Diesel trains ran, and our usual timetable and fares applied. There were significant fare concessions for passengers from our local community.


North Eastern Running Weekend

Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th October 2021

Sentinel at Park Halt

Ride behind our main line steam locomotives from the North East

This last event before our Santa Specials featured our newly overhauled Sentinel, 68153, and NER 1310 in the last few weeks of its boiler ticket.

These two locomotives ran both on our normal passenger line, and over the little-used Balm Road branch. Visitors could catch this opportunity to see them together and ride behind them!

Train services started at 10:30 am. Click here for more details of the timetable (which will open in a new browser tab or window).

Special fares applied: £10.00p for an adult and £1.00p for a child. There were no family tickets for this event, and the only travel concessions that applied were the normal ones for registered carers.


Model Railways On Display

From Saturday 14th August to Sunday 26th September 2021

a model railway layout

"Pop-Up" Model Railway Displays

Displays of one or two model railway layouts each weekend.

See the models alongside the real thing.

We were not able to run our normal model railway exhibition earlier this year, but in place of this we had "pop-up" displays of one or two layouts, on weekends except the Bank Holiday from 14th August to the end of September.

Normal fares and train times applied.

A separate page gives more details of the dates and the layouts.


September Gala

Saturday 4th September and Sunday 5th September 2021

No. 6

First and Last Chance Weekend

A first chance to see the newly-overhauled "No. 6".

A last chance to see NER 1310 before it retires from service.

This gala event featured trains operating over the whole line, including the little-used Balm Road branch.

On each day a special intensive service operated, and special fares applied. A separate page gave more details of this event.


Walking Tour

Sunday 15th August 2021

Salamanca

Explore the Route of the Railway

A guided walk from Leeds Bridge to our Moor Road station, exploring the original route of the railway as it carried coals almost into the centre of the city.

The walk also took in the famous half square mile of Hunslet, through which the route of the railway ran, and where locomotives were manufactured for the world.

Walkers could then follow the walk with a ride on the railway.

The walk started from the downstream side of Leeds Bridge, near the Leeds crest, at 10.00, and it took about 2 hours. More details of it were available at the Leeds City Walking Tours site (which will open in a separate browser window or tab).

The charge for the walk was £10.00p per person, and bookings for it were made through Eventbrite.

The charge for the walk did not include the train fare, but there was a special fare for walkers of £5.00 per person, which was payable at the railway.


Star Rails

Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th October 2019

storm troopers

Our second Comic-Con style event!

Following on from the success of 2018's event, this event featured special exhibits, sci-fi characters in costume (as shown in the picture here, taken in our display hall), and more.

Steam trains ran, and our usual timetable applied, but special fares were charged. A separate page gives more details of this event.


Heritage Diesel Day

Saturday 12th October 2019

heritage diesel locomotives

See a historic diesel locomotive in action

An opportunity to ride behind one of our historic diesel locomotives. Click here for more details of this opportunity.

Our usual timetable and fares applied.


Heritage Diesel Weekend

Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September 2019

heritage diesel locomotives

See historic diesel locomotives in action

Following the movement of our "Works Outing" event to the previous weekend, in response to planned road closures, we ran some of our historic diesel locomotives on both Saturday and Sunday. A special timetable was in operation, and included some trains running over the Balm Road branch. Click here for more details of these services.

Our usual fares applied.


Works Outing

Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th September 2019

Note the change of date from previous publicity

This change was made because of planned road closures in the area of the railway, and so this event was combined with the Heritage Open Days.

locos at Moor Road

Showcasing our own Locomotive Fleet

If it worked, it would get an outing - or at least, that was the aim. The event featured passenger trains and mixed trains operating over the whole line, including the little-used Balm Road branch.

On each day a special intensive service operated, and special fares applied. A separate page gives more details of this event.


SteamPunk - A Return to Middleton

Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th July 2019

a steam punk

Come and enjoy Steam Punks in action

If you are not sure who or what "Steam Punks" are, then visit the website of the Leeds and Bradford Steampunk Markets, with whom we collaborated to arrange this event. The link to their site will open in a new browser window or tab.

The event featured a variety of market stalls with arts, crafts and costumes, hot and cold food, birds of prey, charity tombola and "Coffee Jousting" displays.

Our usual steam trains were running, and normal fares applied, but with a charge for those who were just coming to visit the market.

Steam trains ran on both days, and our usual timetable applied. A separate page gives more details of this event.


Mixed Traffic Weekend

Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd June 2019

a mixed train

Passenger and Goods Trains

This gala event featured passenger trains and mixed trains operating over the whole line, including the little-used Balm Road branch.

On each day a special intensive service operated, and special fares applied. A separate page gives more details of this event.


Fathers' Day Weekend

Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June 2019

father's day

Special Attractions for Fathers (and others!)

A package that gives the opportunity to ride on one of our locomotives and visit our workshops. This package is aimed at fathers, but is definitely not restricted just to them!

Our usual timetable and fares applied, but with special charges for the packages. A separate page gives more details of this event.


Charity Weekend

Saturday 4th, Sunday 5th May and Monday 6th May 2019

marie curie Logo

Support Marie Curie in Leeds

For our charity weekend there were activities to support the work of Marie Curie in Leeds.

Steam trains ran on all three days, and our normal timetable applied. A separate page gives more details of this event.


Art Exhibition

Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th April 2019

Arthington Viaduct

An exhibition of painting and drawings by Jo Dunn

This included some Leeds landmarks, such as Gledhow Wood Road and Arthington Viaduct, as well as scenes from further afield.

Our usual timetable and fares applied.


Last Coals to Leeds

Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th September 2018

last coals to Leeds

A commemoration of our mining heritage

This gala event recreated some of the sights from the days when the Middleton Colliery was still sending coal to Leeds. It featured passenger trains and mixed trains operating over the whole line, including the little-used Balm Road branch.

There was a development project supporting this event, and a separate page gives more details of this project.

On each day a special intensive service of steam trains operated, and special fares applied. Another separate page gives more details of this event.


More Information

Other pages of our web site will provide more information about:

Twitter Facebook YouTube Instagram flickr