Derwent Valley Light Railway

Derwent Valley Light Railway
Derwent Valley Light Railway
The Blackberry Line
DVLR shunting - Tivedshambo 2009-06-21.jpg
Train shunting on the DVLR
Locale England
Terminus Murton
Commercial operations
Name Derwent Valley Light Railway
Built by Derwent Valley Light Railway (DVLR)
Original gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Preserved operations
Operated by Derwent Valley Light Railway Society
Stations 1
Length 0.5 miles (0.80 km)
Preserved gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Commercial history
Opened 1912-1913
Closed 27 September 1981
Preservation history
1985 Light Railway Order transferred to Murton section of line
1990 Great Yorkshire Preservation Society moves to Murton
1991 Wheldrake station obtained
1992 Railway converted to Sustrans cycle track between York and Osbaldwick
1993 Railway reopens

The Derwent Valley Light Railway (DVLR) (also known as The Blackberry Line) was a privately-owned standard-gauge railway running from Layerthorpe on the outskirts of York to Cliffe Common near Selby in North Yorkshire, England. It opened in 1913, and closed in sections between 1965 and 1981. Between 1977 and 1979, passenger steam trains operated between Layerthorpe and Dunnington — the entire length of track at that time. In 1993 a small section was re-opened as part of the Yorkshire Museum of Farming at Murton.

The line gained its nickname of The Blackberry Line in the days when it used to transport blackberries to markets in Yorkshire and London.



The south end of the railway, from Wheldrake to Cliffe Common, was opened on October 29, 1912, with the remainder of the line opening on July 19, 1913. Although it was constructed primarily as a freight line, passenger trains were introduced from 1913, and during World War I it was used as a diversionary route by the North Eastern Railway between York and Selby. Passenger services ended in 1926, though freight traffic prospered through World War II.

In 1923, most British railway companies were grouped into 4 large companies, with the nearby North Eastern Railway becoming part of the London and North Eastern Railway. However, the DVLR remained independent, and continued to do so even after nationalisation in 1948.

In 1964, British Railways closed the Selby to Driffield Line, meaning that the junction at Cliffe Common became redundant. With the connection to Selby now gone, the DVLR was left isolated at its southern end. The line was subsequently run from the Layerthorpe end but traffic generated by the southern section of the track was light so the decision was taken to close the line between Wheldrake and Cliffe Common in 1965. The section between Wheldrake and Elvington followed in 1968. Elvington was closed in 1973, leaving only approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) of track between Layerthorpe and Dunnington on the outskirts of York.

Final years

In 1976, the owners of the railway decided to operate steam trains between Layerthorpe and Dunnington, which was the entire length of the line at that time. A regular summer service started in 1977, with J72 0-6-0T locomotive number 69023 Joem (now preserved at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway) operating the services. By 1979, there were not enough passengers to justify continuing and the service ceased. The railway continued to carry occasional freight trains to Dunnington until 1981 when the grain driers at Dunnington closed and the last major source of freight for the line was gone. On top of that the railway was in desperate need a major overhaul with the majority of the rails and buildings still being the 1913 originals. However, the owners decided that the lack of demand for freight failed to justify any plan of action other than to close the line down. The last train ran on September 27, 1981.


[v · d · e]Derwent Valley Light Railway
Continuation backward
East Coast Main Line
Junction from left Unknown BSicon "eABZ3lg" Continuation to right
to Scarborough
Station on track Unknown BSicon "exSTR"
Continuation forward Unknown BSicon "exABZrg" Unknown BSicon "exKDSTr"
Rowntree's chocolate factory
Unknown BSicon "exSTR"
Unknown BSicon "exKDSTl" Unknown BSicon "exABZrf"
Foss Islands Road depot
Unknown BSicon "exBHF"
Unknown BSicon "exBHF"
Unknown BSicon "xENDEa"
Current limit of operation
A64 (York by-pass)
Unknown BSicon "KHSTxe"
Yorkshire Museum of Farming
Unknown BSicon "exBHF"
Murton Lane
Unknown BSicon "exBHF"
Dunnington Halt
Unknown BSicon "exBHF"
Dunnington (for Kexby)
Unknown BSicon "exBHF"
Unknown BSicon "exBHF"
Unknown BSicon "exBHF"
Unknown BSicon "exBHF"
Unknown BSicon "exBHF"
Unknown BSicon "exABZrg" Unknown BSicon "exCONTl"
to Market Weighton
Unknown BSicon "exBHF"
Cliffe Common
Unknown BSicon "xABZrg" Continuation to right
to Hull
Unknown BSicon "exCONTr" Unknown BSicon "eABZlg"
to York
Station on track
Continuation forward

The original railway was 16 miles (26 km) long, and served the following places:

The line today

Until 1990, a small preservation group, the Great Yorkshire Preservation Society, was originally based at Starbeck near Harrogate. When this closed, the society members relocated to the Yorkshire Museum of Farming, and started to rebuild approximately 0.75 miles (1.21 km) of track towards York, including the section under the York by-pass. A new station was constructed using the original station buildings from Wheldrake, and the railway re-opened in 1993.

The line now runs a mixture of 6 diesel and 1 steam locomotive on Sundays and bank holidays.

The track-bed from Layerthorpe to Osbaldwick, along with part of the former Foss Islands Branch Line in York, has been converted to a foot and cycle path.

Whilst future extension of the line towards Osbaldwick may be possible, as of 2011 there are still no formal plans for this.[1]

Rolling stock

The following rolling stock is owned by the preservation group as of March 2010:

  • Steam Locomotives
  • Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST No. 8 built in 1955. (Under repair, boiler ticket expires in 2015)
  • Diesel Locomotives
  • British Rail Class 03 0-6-0 No. 03079 built in 1960. (Operational)
  • Ruston & Hornsby 0-4-0 No. 327964 "British Sugar York" built in 1953. (Under repair)
  • Ruston & Hornsby 4wDM No. 97088 built in 1962. (Operational)
  • John Fowler & Co. 0-4-0 No. 4100005 "Churchill" built in 1947. (Stored awaiting repair)
  • Ruston & Hornsby 4wDM No. 417892 "Jim" built in 1959. (Stored awaiting repairs)
  • John Fowler & Co. 0-4-0 No. 4200022 built in 1948. (Stored awaiting restoration)
  • Carriages
  • North Eastern Railway 4-wheel coach No. 1214/2462 built in 1890. (Stored awaiting repair)
  • B&W Engineering 4-wheel observation coach No. BW1000 "Sylvia" built in 2003. (Stored awaiting repair)
  • Southern Railway 4-wheel PMV Luggage Van No. S1367S built in 1939. (Operational)
  • British Railways Mk1 TSO No. E3805. (Operational, on long-term loan from NYMR)
  • Wagons
  • British Railways Standard 20-ton Brake Van No. B951144 built in 1951. (Operational)
  • Metro-Cammell ZFV Dogfish Ballast Wagon No. DB993312 built in 1957. (Operational)
  • British Railways 12 ton Box Van No. 775810 built in 1957. (Operational)
  • London Midland and Scottish Railway Brake Van No. 295516 built in 1933. (Undergoing restoration)
  • Chas Roberts Shell Mex and BP Tank Wagon No. 5081 built in 1938. (Operational)
  • Coal Wagon No. B291264. (Operational)
  • Great Western Railway Box Van No. W95166 built in 1915. (Operational)
  • Great Central Railway 12 ton Box Van (modified) No. 539249 built in 1923. (Operational)
  • London and North Eastern Railway 20 ton Plate Wagon No. 239666 built in 1940. (Operational)
  • Great Central Railway Bolster Wagon No. 516537 built in 1920. (Operational)


  1. ^ "History of the Derwent Valley". Derwent Valley Light Railway official website. Retrieved 2008-06-25. "Given time, hard work and the resources, the line maybe extended from its current length, but that remains to be seen" [dead link]

External links

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