Nidd Valley Light RailwayTo contents

Trackbed near Wath


Background A short history

A Trip Along The Route Today   Photos as the route appears now

Suggested Short Walks and Travel Following the route

Further information Books and sites etc

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The Nidd Valley Light Railway started life as a 3ft gauge contractor's railway connecting Pateley Bridge with Angram Reservoir constructed as part of the Bradford Corporation Waterworks project. It was taken over by Bradford Corporation and re-laid to standard gauge opening in 1907. As part of the light railway order the council were required to operate passenger services between Pateley Bridge and Lofthouse with intermediate stations at Wath and Ramsgill. The NVLR had it's own station in Pateley some distance away from the North Eastern Railway station and connected by a goods line across Pateley High Street. Above Lofthouse the line continued as a steeply graded contractors line with a short tunnel at Goyden.

The railway was the only corporation operated passenger light railway in the country

The line was closed to passengers in December 1929 although goods traffic continued until 1936 when Scar House Reservoir was completed with dismantling in the course of 1937.

Today, much remains of the trackbed and stations which are all occupied as private residences. It is worth looking at Google Earth particularly around the Pateley Bridge Station site where the clear indication of the station terminal platforms can be seen and the track work with sidings and engine shed a little way outside Pateley and alongside the river. On close examination even the inspection pit can be located.

The section from Pateley to Ramsgill is visible from the Nidderdale Way which starts near the bridge at Pateley. After passing the houses the old station site comes into view now surrounded by a builders yard. It is difficult to spot where the engine shed would have been but the track bed is clearly visible. The footpath follows very close by until Wath where it veers towards the river. The trackbed is crossed at the end of Gouthwaite Dam and a nearby farm track runs parallel all of the way to Ramsgill. Unfortunately access is not permitted directly on to this section of trackbed as this is part of a nature reserve.

Between Ramsgill and Lofthouse access is sporadic but a short section from the crossing near Sykes Brow can be followed.

Above Lofthouse the trackbed is occupied by a private water authority road. Access is permitted along the road up to the carpark at Scar House passing the tunnel portals at Goyden en-route.

One of the locomotives, Illingworth  remains in preservation and is currently undergoing a restoration project

For more history see a blog by Nick Ansell of the NRM Constructing the Scar House Dam

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A Trip Along the Line Today

A trip along the line commencing at Pateley Bridge NER Station and progressing Northwards.

Pateley Bridge NER station  - this was a single platform with extensive sidings - the railway then ran across Pateley Bridge High Street on a level crossing with the passenger entrance to the station at one side

Pateley Bridge looking towards the level crossing. The NER branch ended at the end of the road now built on the site of the tracks with the passenger entrance to the station on the right

Site of the level crossing across the High Street. The line curved to the left passing by the mill.

Pateley Bridge NVLR station accessed by a circuitous route from Corporation Street (now Greenwood Street) and under the Scott Gate Ash tramway bridge and now surrounded by a highways maintenance and a coal yard. The view was taken some years ago and pretty well obscured now by undergrowth and a new building. The station comprised a double road with two terminal platforms the building being located at the end. The goods line to the NER station ran to the right.

Pateley Bridge NVLR Station (2) taken from roughly the location of the through line

Gate through which line would have passed on leaving the station

NVR near Pateley.jpg (33008 bytes)

Looking North from the station site towards the engine shed and sidings which were located on the right some distance from the station itself.

Trackbed visible in ground to the right of fence

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Just outside Pateley station looking South

Looking south

Outside Pateley looking North

Looking South

Retaining wall between Pateley and Wath

Trackbed near Wath looking north

Near Wath

Near Wath

Near Wath

Trackbed near Wath looking South

Trackbed near Wath looking south- the ballast still exists under the grass

Approaching Wath station (centre of picture)

Wath Station Once a public house before conversion to a station. Both Wath and Ramsgill were converted to houses well before the closure of the passenger services in 1929 

Wath Station (photographed by kind permission of the owner)

Wath Station (photographed by kind permission of the owner). The bay windows were added but the canopy is part original. The platform edge is visible.

Wath Station (photographed by kind permission of the owner) looking towards the level crossing and Gouthwaite

Wath Station and railway embankment viewed across field

Trackbed at Wath   from the former level crossing (looking North)   - This section up to Gowthwaite dam was probably the steepest graded on the passenger railway

North of Wath

Approaching Gouthwaite

Approaching Gouthwaite

NVR near Gowthwaite.jpg (30239 bytes)

Approaching Gouthwaite dam (looking North)




Alongside Gouthwaite Reservoir -the railway ran very close to the waters edge

Alongside Gouthwaite Reservoir


Alongside Gouthwaite Reservoir

Approaching Ramsgill Station

Ramsgill Station -this should really be called Bouthwaite as it is mile from Ramsgill village. This is an old photo as the view is now obscured by hedge

Ramsgill Station

Ramsgill Station

Remains of bridge over stream at Bowthwaite (near Ramsgill Station)

Trackbed at Sykes Brow (beyond farm buildings and following wall)

Sykes Brow

Approaching level crossing near Lofthouse- the early 3 feet gauge contractor's line started  from near here


Level crossing near Lofthouse

Trackbed approaching near Lofthouse

Lofthouse Station from the road. The station was an antiques shop for a while during which time it was possible to see the booking hall original Bradford Corporation tiling and ticket window still in-situ 

Lofthouse Station

Lofthouse Station showing platform face(along fence)

The goods line progressed beyond Lofthouse Station over the bridge and turned right to Scar House

Trackbed above Lofthouse (trackbed to left) - the gradient becomes steep all the way to Scar House - Typically a heavy goods train would need 4 locos. 

Tunnel portal at Goyden Pot -The tunnel was built in the early 1920's to ease the bend. The track doubled at this point one of the tracks following the sharply curved road

Tunnel Northern entrance.  There are several pictures from inside the tunnel to be seen on the internet - see flckr

Trackbed above Goyden (the track was to the right hand side of the road)


Trackbed approaching Scar House (trackbed to left of road)
Scar House Dam with trackbed to dam in foreground

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Suggested Short Walks

1. Pateley to Wath - Park in Pateley Bridge and  the path starts to the High Street side of the bridge and then follows the trackbed on right hand riverbank. Return the same way  -3 miles

2. Wath to Ramsgill - Park in lay-by at Wath. Follow path on other side of pack horse bridge across field until reaching Gouthwaite Dam. Then follow track above shore of reservoir to Bouthwaite then Ramsgill returning via road -5 miles

3.Lofthouse to Goyden - Park in Lofthouse and follow private road to Goyden pot and tunnel. Return using footpath on other side of river-  4 miles.

4. Pateley Bridge to Lofthouse - undertake the linear walk of the whole route to Lofthouse Station in the summer when the bus is available for the return (see below)- 6.5 miles linear

5. Circuit of Scar House Reservoir - Park in Scar House carpark and follow Yorkshire Water path - 5 miles


There are several bus services running as part of the DalesBus network. For more information

  • The No 24 bus provides access to Pateley Bridge Monday to Sunday.
  • The 821 Nidderdale Rambler from Keighley to Scar House via Shipley and Otley on summer Sundays will give opportunity for a linear walk along the line
  • The 822 runs from York to Pateley Bridge on summer Sundays

The nearest rail station is Harrogate and the the No 24 bus will give access to Pateley Bridge

Walkers boarding the 821 Nidderdale Rambler outside Lofthouse Station

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Further information

There are two good books available

  • The Nidd Valley Light Railway - DJ Croft - Published by Oakwood Press

  • Lesser Railways Of The Yorkshire Dales - Bowtell - Published Plateway Press

Some material is displayed at the Nidderdale Museum located near St Cuthberts Church in Pateley Bridge

A blog by Nick Ansell of the NRM Constructing the Scar House Dam

There are several pictures from inside the tunnel to be seen on the Internet - see flckr


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This site was last updated on 01-Sep-2021

©John Carey 2009