The Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam
Railway was originally opened as part of the Skipton to
Ilkley Line, which was built by the Midland Railway in 1888. The
aim of this line was to connect the smaller towns with the iconic
Settle-Carlisle Railway and onward services to the far north and
Initially the line was very successful in passenger and freight
traffic, but both of these dwindled following the Second World War.
The Beeching Report recommended the closure of the railway, and all
services were decisively withdrawn in 1965.
In 1969 the Yorkshire Dales Railway Society was formed, with the
aim of re-opening some of the region's defunct routes. In 1970 they
managed to acquire Embsay station, and in 1979 they were able to
resume short services. In 1987, the preservation society reached
Holywell, and Stoneacre reopened in 1991. At about this time the
railway was given its current name, as the plan to extend to the
current terminus at Bolton Abbey was well underway. Services to
this station commenced in 1997, and the line has remained a popular
local attraction since that time.