Introduction to the Middleton Railway

History – in 1812 the world’s first commercially successful steam locomotives began work on our railway, attracting worldwide attention We are the world’s oldest continuously running railway, with over 250 years of service to the city of Leeds. The coal it originally transported there turned Leeds into a huge centre of industry. For around 50 years we have served the Leeds Tourist Industry and for many years have provided Leeds area schools with an educational venue telling the story of the railway.

Our Moor Road headquarters

What the Middleton Railway can offer you and your students

A variety of activities, listed below, some of which can be incorporated in the itinerary for your visit.

You can link your visit to a wide variety of subjects and topics:

Local HistoryScience
MathematicsIndustrial Heritage
TechnologyTransport History

The Railway and its Museum make a stimulating venue for Art Projects or Creative Writing.

The Railway’s southern end adjoins Middleton Woods, ideal for a Nature Walk or a picnic lunch.

To help you plan your visit to the Middleton Railway we’ve listed below the various activities we can offer.

Train Ride

A ride or two up and down the line.

At the top of the line are Middleton Park and Woods, ideal for an independent, self-led nature or history walk.

A volunteer can explain how the engine runs around the train at each end of the line, as well as other aspects of the engine and train working.

Museum Display Hall TourThis can be tailored to your needs and the age of the children.
History Talks

Our railway has a long and interesting history – more than 250 years of it! We can provide a range of talks to suit your needs.

We also have an audio-visual presentation, though this is most suitable for older children.

WorksheetsPrepared by Education Consultants, and available for Early Years and Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. We recommend that teachers select their own choice of worksheets during their pre-visit.
Train QuizA quiz which can be adapted to suit children of different age groups. This can be used to enhance the train ride.
Railway Safety JigsawThis is a large floor jigsaw designed to introduce children to potential dangers of railways.
Story TellingWe have produced various books to introduce aspects of the history of the Middleton Railway. Any one of these can be read to a group of children.
How Steam Locomotives WorkA worksheet-based activity for older children which complements the tour of the Engine House and the train ride.
Bert’s Trail
A differentiated worksheet leading the children to displays, allowing them to discover the history of the railway for themselves.

For some of the activities there is a maximum number of children who can participate at the same time, and if this is the case, we would ask if you can split the children into groups.

Our Facilities

We have a large Conference Room equipped with various media aids, where your class can complete their worksheets, or you can conduct your own on-site lesson.

Tours of the locomotives and history displays can also be arranged, led by our volunteers.

Our purpose-built working museum facility was opened several years ago, and has been awarded museum accreditation by Arts Council England.

Locomotives (many of them built in Leeds), can be seen in the Display Hall, along with items from the long history of our Railway, and a real locomotive boiler for students to explore.

There is a display area, where classes can discover more about the history of the Middleton Railway, the surrounding districts, and the Leeds locomotive industry, by watching our Railway’s history audio-visual film, and looking at our information boards.

We have a cafe and shop with small, inexpensive souvenirs for sale. We offer schools a souvenir gift pack at a special price of £2.50.

Our building and trains are accessible to all. Toilets are located in the entrance to the Engine House and are accessible to all, including baby change facilities. There are no toilets on the trains, on on either platform.

Outside are a few other displays, and a good-sized car park where classes can safely leave and rejoin their transport.

The building has CCTV monitoring and an automatic fire detection system and alarm.

Our risk assessment document is available by clicking here to download a copy, or by contacting the railway by phone or email.

The Railway has a Safeguarding policy and leaders of the education team are DBS checked.

When We Are Open For School Visits

We offer Wednesdays in Leeds City Council term times during our running season – Easter until the end of October.

In early December we run our School Santa Trains – more details for which will appear on our website from August. These dates will not appear on the page for the regular Santa Trains.

All places for School visits must be booked in advance.

The Railway is not open to the general public on these days.

How Much Your Visit Will Cost

Locomotive Type for the RideMinimum Charge

We do not charge for accompanying adults.

How You Can Contact Us To Organise Your Visit

By telephone on 07376 744799 (Monday to Friday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm only, please)

By e-mail to

Whether you telephone or e-mail please include your name, your school’s name and your contact details in your message.

A member of our Education Team will contact you within a few days. (Please be aware that the railway is operated completely by volunteers, so things sometimes take a little bit longer.)

We can discuss, without obligation, your school’s educational visit requirements.

We strongly recommend that you visit the railway yourself, prior to your event, so that you can familiarise yourself with the facilities and activities available.

We Look Forward To Welcoming You And Your Students!

If you would like a copy of our Teachers’ Information pack, please click here to download.