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Geography

The Junctions at Methley

Information source : The Railway Magazine 1957 K Field and JP Wilson

The first railway to be constructed through Methley was the North Midland creating a working connection from Derby to Leeds commencing 1st July 1840.  Engineer George Stephenson was attracted to this route because of the advantageous geographical levels along the Aire valley.    Further railway development was carried out in this village utilising both river levels and the area was to be recognised as of strategic importance as a route into the developing city of Leeds.   Construction of the York and North Midland line quickly followed with the Leeds – York service.  The next company to run through Methley was the Manchester and Leeds Railway.
The next stage in the history concerned the Great Northern Railway which shortly became the Gt Northern who were seeking access into Leeds.   The threat of competition drove the Midland to contest this but the Gt Northern purchased access via the Wakefield – Goole line.   As a consequence the Midland offerred the Gt Northern authority to run from Methley Junction on contract in 1847 becoming effective in 1849.       A situation described as ‘a  difference’   occurred between the Midland and the Gt Northern.     After developing misgivings regarding the possible effects of the proposed competition, it would appear these differences had  leaked to the workforce level at the Midland and on the first day of operations it had been reported that some metals had been taken up.    The Leeds Mercury of September 15th 1849 reported ‘ the  public narrowly escaped a frightful catastrophe on the opening day  –  the Superintendant at Doncaster had heard a whisper that something was afoot with the line at Methley, sent over a single tender and found that the points had been removed. Had the train proceeded at speed it would surely have left the rails.’
The Gt Northern must have made an immediate and forceful protest, as on the following day they were able to introduce their race specials from Leeds and Peterborough to the St Leger horseracing meeting at  Doncaster.

Further junction work was completed in 1869 and the new line known as the Methley Joint Line was the product of the Gt Northern, the Lancs and Yorks and the North Eastern Railway.
Platforms were installed on the fork to Lofthouse junction (L & Y) but remained unused, the connection being utilised for mineral trains only.    This portion between Methley joint junction and Methley Junction fell int disuse for passenger services and the track finally removed in 1943.    The LYR station was also closed at that time.   One thing that is clear is that before the development of tarmacadam and improved road transport, those railway platforms would have been hives of activity giving direct passenger access to Leeds and local towns not to mention the incoming migration of miners and their families from other areas of the country.