OriginalAncestry Profiles

Leeds and Bradford Railway Company

by Laura Foor

The early 1800’s was a time when railways were just beginning to be built in the London area. Those who were involved in business quickly recognized the many benefits that this new transportation option could bring, and for that reason alone were looking for the best options when it came to deciding which cities would be included in the new railway lines. 

In 1832, a group of businessmen with ties to Bradford wanted the railway to link to Leeds and Manchester via Bradford and Halifax. They wanted to be part of the upcoming wool trade that was beginning to take place in Bradford, as wool is an important part of Bradford’s economy and people were showing an interest in buying this increasingly popular commodity. This placed an urgency on building a railway line between the cities of Leeds and Bradford, as it created a way to easily and affordably transport these goods to another location.

But these plans fell through, as not all businessmen agreed on which cities the railway lines should connect. Instead, a decision to connect Leeds to Manchester using a different route was deemed to be the better route choice.

Not to be undermined, the Bradford-based businessmen went on to create the Leeds and Bradford Railway Company. Even though it took them many years, as it was now 1843, they were more determined than ever to build a railway line that would finally connect Wellington Street, Leeds to the city of Bradford.

A mere one year later, the Leeds and Bradford Railway Co received permission to build the line, still against the wishes of rival railway companies. In order to appease the mass, a stipulation was added that required Leeds and Bradford to build a subsidiary line that would connect Bradford to Leeds to Stanningley, aka the West Yorkshire Railway. This finally led to the creation of the Bradford Connecting Lines, a goal that was many years in the making.

The official opening of the new Leeds to Bradford railway line took place on July 1st, 1846.

Although it took nearly 16 years to build a railway line that would connect the city of Bradford to other cities for trade purposes to come to fruition, it was well worth the wait. Today, the Leeds and Bradford Railway consists of 4 stations, all managed by the West Yorkshire Metro.

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