20th February 2020 · “The Calder Valley”

Presenter: Steve Armitage

Another well attended meeting in February witnessed a superb presentation of images given by Steve Armitage illustrating the delights along the lines of the Calder Valley. This most excellent restorer of vintage photographs entertained the meeting with images spread over a wide time scale ranging from the late 19th century to modern day times. The journey was to follow the Lancashire and Yorkshire routes from the top of the line at Summit Tunnel downhill to the extremity east of Wakefield. The material comprised of numerous, mainly black and white, photographs from many sources amongst which came a number taken by top ranking photographers Gavin Morrison and Richard Greenwood all portraying an array of varied steam locomotives that were often and frequently seen along the valley. Focal points of interest in the upper reaches were to be Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and both the Stainland and Rishworth branches. Lower down Brighouse, Wakefield Kirkgate and Normanton stations were to be the main locations of interest. As to be expected freight activity was much to the fore throughout but passenger and parcels traffic were nevertheless well represented. Visitations to motive power depots at Sowerby Bridge, Mirfield, Wakefield, Royston (slightly off the beaten track) and Normanton, where freight engines abounded, conveyed the typical work-a-day steam engine atmosphere.

Scenes taken around the freight yards of Healey Mills and Mirfield broadened the range of the activities along the route.

Throughout the programme intermittent modern day scenes, mostly in colour and taken by the presenter, showing preserved steam in action emphasised the changes to the route that have taken place over the passage of time.