New heritage railway vision revealed for historic Elsecar Ironworks

An exciting new vision for the former site of the Elsecar Ironworks has been announced today, including a new heritage railway, new rail college, outdoor events area and more.


The vision for the historic site, now a scheduled ancient monument, has been carefully developed over the last two years, based on extensive public consultation and working closely with Historic England, as a legacy project of our Heritage Action Zone partnership.


The future vision for the former ironworks includes:


  • New heritage railway destination, including a reconstructed 1849 Fitzwilliam locomotive, powered by sustainable fuels

  • New rail college and rail technology test track, training more than 400 students each year

  • Advanced engineering workshops showcasing the region’s innovation

  • New ‘Cultural Canteen’ and outdoor events and performance area, against the spectacular backdrop of the ironworks furnaces and restored blast wall

  • Active Travel Hub and Cycle Hire, to enable families and visitors to travel to Elsecar, and explore the Elsecar Valley, on foot and by bike

The site sits on the east side of the successful Elsecar Heritage Centre and its major indoor events space, which is being refurbished over the next year thanks to funding already secured from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, through the Cultural Development Fund administered by Arts Council England.


Designs for new buildings for the ironworks site have been closely inspired by the Victorian furnace sheds which originally stood there. They will replace a replica station newly built in the 1990s, when the importance of the ironworks was not understood and the condition of which is deteriorating.


A series of consultation events, activities and special tours are planned for the New Year when the public, beginning with local residents, can share their thoughts about the new vision and how it should be taken forward.

The new development would transform the impact Elsecar can have for Barnsley and South Yorkshire communities and mean the village further becoming a national visitor destination.


It focuses on creating jobs, skills and quality life-changing experiences for South Yorkshire communities. It is closely aligned to Barnsley’s 2030 vision as ‘a place of possibilities’.

Elsecar has a long history as an international centre of coal mining and ironworking, with many achievements to its name. The new development will share that history and celebrate the wider innovation heritage of South Yorkshire.


Funding options are being explored for the new development, which has been costed at around £25m to be delivered in full. It may be progressed in stages as funding becomes available.


Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton CBE Leader, Barnsley Council said, We’re determined to transform this remarkable historic site, previously the home of Elsecar Heritage Railway, into something which is unique, sustainable, and will thrive long into the future.

This will include a new heritage railway destination, a rail college, advanced engineering workshops, outdoor performance and events area, public spaces, a café-restaurant and more.


The redevelopment of the Ironworks site and heritage railway will not happen straight away. We need to secure funding and it will take time to deliver, but this vision is the starting point for something very special for Elsecar.”


For more information about the vision visit

A - Z Directory