Have you ever wished you could take a step back in time — to learn about and experience travel like the people who came before us? If so, then the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway (EBASR) really will transport you to days gone by.
The Skipton—Ilkley line was opened in 1888 as part of the Midland Railway and served the villages of Embsay, Bolton Abbey, and Addingham. The rail was closed in 1965, and for the first time in 77 years, the sight of steam billowing up over the dales ceased. That was, until 1981 when the railway between the stations at Embsay and Bolton Abbey was reopened.
Since then, the stop at Holywell Halt has been brought back to life, and the old signal box at Stoneacre has been restored to working order.
The stations at Embsay and Bolton Abbey
The pretty stations at either end of the line have been carefully restored and lovingly renovated to recreate the look and feel of the original 19th-century buildings.
It’s always good to arrive early for your train, and you will definitely want to when you see the delightful display of sandwiches and cakes at the coffee stops at both stations. While you’re sipping your tea, why not leaf through the pages of the book you picked up at Embsay Station’s gorgeous little bookshop? It stocks a range of interesting and niche titles — you are bound to find something you’re interested in.
You can expect to see postcard-worthy steam engines like the L&Y 1300, built in 1895 and often on loan to the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. The Hunslet No. 2705, affectionately names “Beatrice” after the daughter of the original owner is a frequent sight on the tracks. In addition to the traditional steam engines, some classic diesel engines that have been used all over Europe work the route too.
The historic, maroon-coloured Mark 1 coaches built for British Railways in the 1950s and 1960s are used for regular services, and the lavish Victorian and Edwardian coaches, which belong to the “Stately Trains” fleet, are reserved for first-class passengers.
Experiences and events
There is always something going on at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway: intrigue and conspiracy with themed murder mysteries, hands-on train driving experiences, a “Fawlty Towers” dinner and show, and special menus incorporating the best of British cuisine… like curry!
Timetables and tickets
The trains run every Sunday and most Saturdays throughout the year, and up to seven days a week in the summer. The full timetable is available on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway website, along with up-to-date ticket prices and a convenient online booking system.