The Yorkshire Dales Railway

The Yorkshire Dales Railway opened on Tuesday July 29th, 1902. The first sod was cut 2 years previously on June 7th, 1900. The railway closed to passenger traffic in 1930 and goods traffic discontinued in 1969. The last train to Grassington was on August 20th, 1969.

The rail link from Skipton to Swinden Quarry is all that remains of the railway.



History of the Dales Railway

The rich deposits of lead ore on Grassington Moor were worked from the time of James I by mining families who came into the area from Swaledale and Derbyshire. At its peak, the highly complex system of mines employed some hundreds of men and boys and made annual profits of up to £20,000 per annum, until cheap imports and dwindling ores forced their closure in 1882. The end of lead mining brought a period of depression and decline to Grassington. Its population fell by two-thirds with many families forced to leave the area. The village returned to being an agricultural community.

It was the coming of the Yorkshire Dales Railway from Skipton in 1902 that changed Grassington’s fortunes. The railway enabled two seemingly contradictory industries to develop, namely, limestone quarrying which now provides a vital raw material for the steel, chemical and construction industries and tourism which, like quarrying, is an important source of local employment. The Grassington Folk Museum, with its collection of tools, household items and artefacts, may give some insight into the life of those many generations of Dales folk who have helped to create the village and the landscape we see today.

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Below are some images of the history of the Yorkshire Dales Railway.

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