The Leeds & York Railway and the Tadcaster Viaduct
"The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry"
Many railroad proposals are never seen through to completion, even if significant infrastructure along the route is built, both here in the United States and abroad.
This was especially true in the early days of railroad companies, which were quite often small operations that did not have much support from governments, and were also competing against such charters that did.
One such example of an unbuilt railway is the Leeds & York Railway, a proposal from the 1840's to connect its namesake cities in the United Kingdom.
Before the proposal was abandoned, workers had completed the Tadcaster Viaduct, which still stands today. While the company that built it came and went without laying track on it, it briefly did serve its purpose as a rail bridge, although only for a side track. (Location)
|Tadcaster Viaduct in the distance. Alison Stamp, 2005. Wikipedia Commons
|Tadcaster Viaduct in 2007. Andrew Whale, Wikipedia Commons. Whale shared the following, "About a quarter-of-a-mile above the road bridge is a handsome viaduct of eleven arches spanning the Wharfe. This was erected whilst George Hudson was the ruling spirit in the railway world, but with the collapse of the "Railway King" the line, which was intended to connect Tadcaster with York, was abandoned. The viaduct was subsequently purchased by the North-Eastern Railway Co." Later, it was used for a short siding to a mill on the east side of the river." (Tadcaster Extract, 1890)
Today the bridge serves as a walkway over the River Wharfe, and as a reminder about how plans can go awry. The viaduct has also been the subject of several preservation efforts, and its historic and architectural significance has been recognized by its designation as a Grade II listed building.
Thanks as always for reading!