ALL ABOARD: Is there hope for the York to Beverley rail line 50 years after it closed? | York Press
Travel by train to York with TransPennine Express. Book in advance and save over 50% - search for cheap train tickets now. The York–Beverley line was a railway line between York, Market Weighton and Beverley in ; Report of the Committee of Investigation, to be Laid Before the Meeting of the Shareholders, York and North Midland Railway, Carl Bro Group Ltd (March ), Hull to Beverley to York Rail Corridor Study Feasibility. East Yorkshire bus X46 runs from York to Pocklington, Market Weighton and Hull via York Piccadilly; Pocklington EYMS Depot; Market Weighton Griffin; Beverley Sow Hill .. X46 and X47 buses may show Market Weighton as the destination, with onward X46 and X47 call at York and Hull stations; Inverted rail symbol.
Pocklington and District Local History Group The prevailing view back then was that railways had an important part to play in Britain's transport network - but mainly in urban areas, says Bob Gwynne, an associate curator at the National Railway Museum.
Much of the rail network serving small rural communities was sacrificed. At the same time, the rail routes we do have are increasingly crowded, says Mr Gwynne. There are many more passengers travelling now than ten years ago. We have as many rail passengers now as we did post war, on a system that is one third smaller. Pocklington School pupils wave off their schoolmates at the town's station in Pocklington and District Local History Group A feasibility study in suggested that, even though some sections of the route had long since been built over, re-opening the line might make economic sense.
If that was true ten years ago, how much more true would it be today, when the cost of using a car has soared, roads are crowded - and rail passenger numbers are much higher than they were then?
The Minsters Rail Campaign, which is pushing for the re-opening of the line, certainly believes it makes sense. Re-opening the line would transform the prospects of towns such as Pocklington, Stamford Bridge, Market Weighton and Beverley, open up the Wolds to visitors, hugely improve rail links between York, the East Riding and Hull - and relieve pressure on the A and Ait says. Conversely, failure to re-open the line would have a long-term cost to the economy of this part of Yorkshire, the campaign argues.
So what are the prospects of the line being re-opened? They seemed to recede in when East Riding of Yorkshire council failed to include proposals to re-open the line in its draft local plan.
But the political and economic landscape has changed since then. Chancellor George Osborne himself was in York at the National Railway Museum not long ago to launch the National Infrastructure Commission, which promises major investment in transport. All the talk now is of a 'Northern Powerhouse', and of improving connections between towns and cities across the North of England to help make that possible. With the high speed HS2 line due to come to Leeds, it would make sense for that to be plugged into a strong local rail network, says the NRM's Bob Gwynne.
Restoring the York to Beverley line would slash the rail journey from York to Beverley from nearly two hours to something like 50 minutes - and could directly link Hull with Leeds via York. It would improve connections across the region, in short - making York and East Yorkshire more attractive to business. The recent re-opening of the Borders Railway linking Scottish Borders communities with Edinburgh proves that it can be done, Mr Gwynne says.
But since it was officially reopened by the Queen in September, it has been hugely popular, with passenger numbers exceeding expectations. Yorkshire devolution, which would see responsibility for transport budgets devolved to some combination of Yorkshire authorities, would provide a real opportunity for local politicians to take the plunge over reopening lines such as the York to Beverley, Mr Gwynne says.
And there certainly seems to be real appetite amongst politicians locally. Even East Riding of Yorkshire Council is in favour - despite not including the proposals in its local plan. The proposals weren't included simply because they weren't felt to be deliverable within the plan's year timeframe, says the authority's director of corporate strategy and commissioning John Skidmore. Construction of the second part, on to Beverley, was delayed for 17 years, however, because of Hudson's fall from grace.
It eventually opened inallowing trains to run through all the way from York to Hull.
The stations on the York line eventually suffered heavily from the North Eastern Railway policy of renaming, which avoided any possibilities of confusion, but resulted in many stations conveniently situated for a particular village receiving the name of one much further away. From its opening Market Weighton had been a terminus, but it was always intended that the York line should be extended south to Beverley, and the Selby line east to Driffield.
The extension to Beverley proved problematic due to the routing of the line across the Dalton Holme Estate. There was much debate, which included a proposal to build a completely new line from Market Weighton to Brough. In the NER eventually agreed to build the line to Beverley as originally planned, and an Act was granted on 30th June with work starting in September that year. The single-track extension opened on 1st Mayand a new revised timetable was immediately introduced with four stopping trains from York to Hull completing the journey in two hours.
Bus Services in York
There was also a fast service that called only at principal stations. The NER began a programme of doubling the line in with a second platform being provided at the two intermediate stations. This proposal was not greeted with much local enthusiasm and, when the company dropped the west end of the route between Market Weighton and Howden, the NER offered to operate the remaining section of line, but only between Market Weighton and Driffield.
Construction started inand the line opened on 21 April with intermediate stations at Enthorpe, Middleton-on-the-Wolds, Bainton and Southburn. From the outset the Driffield line had a good service, with most trains running on to Bridlington. There were, however, only three through trains between Selby and Bridlington, two morning down trains with one in the evening from Selby and one mid-morning up train and two in the evening; this could hardly be described as a regular service.
By the line had settled down to a more regular service with five through down trains and four up trains, and an additional short-running service between Bridlington and Market Weighton. Following the general grouping, the LNER improved the service on both the York and Selby lines, with a fast service provided for commuters between Bridlington and Leeds which was achieved in 1 hour 35 minutes.
The built railcar and its shed at Selby were destroyed in an accidental fire in A number of steam railmotors were then acquired, and in two of these were shedded at Selby with another at Bridlington; they made two daily return trips, one mid-morning and the other mid-afternoon.
In there were eight daily trains between York and Hull and seven in the opposite direction; not all trains called at all stations. There were two additional Saturday workings between York and Pocklington which were used to trial a new petrol rail car.
One was in the morning and the other in the evening, but only the outward journey to Pocklington in the evening carried passengers. WW2 brought a reduction in the service, with three daily trains in each direction calling at all stations between Selby and Driffield, and different stops for each service between Driffield and Bridlington. At this time the railmotors were also still in use.
MINSTERS RAIL CAMPAIGN
After the war there was little improvement to the service; in there were three through trains in each direction with some short running services between Bridlington and Market Weighton, and no Sunday service. The line was still well used by excursion traffic to Scarborough, especially on summer Saturdays, with up to 17 excursions using the line.
While the Market Weighton to York service still carried a reasonable number of local passengers, many of the stations on the Selby line were little used: It therefore came as no surprise when closure of the intermediate stations was announced.
Menthorpe Gate was the first to close, losing its passenger service on 7 Decemberwith the rest of the intermediate stations closing on 20 September All the stations closed to goods traffic on 28 Januaryexcept Enthorpe where the small yard had closed on 14 September and Holme Moor and Everingham, which handled goods traffic until A limited passenger service between Selby and Bridlington was retained, with one morning train from Selby returning from Bridlington in the evening.
There was an additional morning train from Bridlington to Market Weighton with a connection for York, but this was withdrawn before the line closed. Final closure of the line to all passenger traffic was proposed for 15 June There was an appeal, but it only delayed the inevitable as the Transport Users' Consultative Committee said that they could see no way of alleviating hardship for the very small number who would be affected.
The end came on 14 Juneand, with the closure of Holme Moor and Everingham goods depots on 2 Augustthe whole route was completely defunct. Summer excursions which formerly used the line would in future be diverted via Hull. On the York line, the position was rather different.
Holtby station closed at the start of WW2 and Nunburnholme closed in In June there were eight daily journeys between York and Hull with seven in the opposite direction. Through the s there was some modernisation. Lifting barriers the first in the country were installed at Warthill inand coloured light signalling was installed at Market Weighton and near Stamford Bridge.
Steel sleepers were laid between Market Weighton and Kipling Cotes. Warthill, Fangfoss and Cherry Burton closed in The introduction of Cravens diesel multiple-units saw a general speeding up of the service, with nine trains per day calling at the remaining stations.
The accelerated service proved popular, but this upturn in fortunes was to be short-lived. In May a contract for further modernisation work on the route was agreed with the engineering firm Westinghouse. Within weeks the first consignments of equipment were being delivered to Pocklington. The main part of the plan was to reduce costs further by singling the track but providing passing loops at Pocklington and Market Weighton. Work was also to include the conversion of 19 of the line's 22 remaining gated level-crossings to automatic half-barriers and an overhaul of the signalling system, allowing the whole route to be controlled from fewer signal boxes.
Very little work had been carried out before the modernisation scheme was suddenly halted in Februarywith British Railways announcing that the plans had been suspended for "re-assessment". What was happening became clear on 27th March when Dr. Richard Beeching released his report. The York to Beverley route was earmarked for closure, and was one of only three lines in the report to be presented as an economic case study. Beeching considered that closure was justified on the grounds that it was actually losing money when all the "terminal costs" were taken into account, and that closing the seemingly-profitable line would create greater savings that were more beneficial than the income it was making.
He also argued that the majority of passengers were simply travelling between York and Hull, and that intermediate stations were underused. This made the line an unnecessary duplicate of the Hull to York Line via Selby despite the fact that the more direct line was far from underused.
By all the goods yards had been closed, with the exception of Market Weighton and Pocklington where a small amount of traffic was still handled.
Disused Stations: Nunburnholme Station
The election of a Labour government in appeared to throw the route a lifeline, but Harold Wilson quickly backtracked on his electoral promises to halt rail closures. Protests from local authorities along the route and concerns of the official railways watchdog were ignored, and the Transport Secretary, Barbara Castle, approved the closure. The final trains ran on Saturday 27th Novemberthe very last being a six-car DMU running the 9: Despite the snow, the train was packed with local people and enthusiasts eager to travel on the last train.
Passenger services officially ceased as from 29th November The Minister's consent caused widespread bitterness.
Critics of the closure claim that if the C. Four years after closure all the lands and assets of the mothballed route were sold off by British Rail, mostly to local landowners and developers, resulting in the construction of houses on parts of the route in built-up areas.
Nonetheless the majority of the trackbed and several railway buildings survive to this day. Pocklington station a Grade II listed building has been preserved and is now the sports hall of Pocklington School. In Stamford Bridge the station house and engine shed survive in other uses as do the platforms on both sides of the old trackbed.
The impressive brick and cast-iron viaduct at Stamford Bridge that carried the line across the River Derwent was spared from demolition in and subsequently repaired. The mile long Hudson Way footpath and cycleway follows the course of the line from Market Weighton — Beverley, with a car park at Kipling Cotes station. The substantial station buildings at Market Weighton were left abandoned before being pulled down inleaving no trace. Earswick was the only other station on the line to be totally demolished, although its position is marked by a railway signal outside the pub that now occupies the site.
The continuation of the line from Beverley to Hull was spared from closure and today forms the southern end of the Yorkshire Coast Line between Hull and Scarborough. In recent years, there has been considerable public support among local residents for the reopening of the line between York and Beverley.
There has even been campaigning to this effect, led largely by the Minsters' Rail Campaign pressure group who argue that the railway was unfairly closed and that East Yorkshire's roads, particularly the A, are struggling to cope with increasing traffic to and from Hull. The council subsequently gave their complete backing to the proposals, however no further developments have taken place.
Due to British Rail's selling off of the line's assets shortly after closure, parts of the trackbed in localities including Huntington, Stamford Bridge and Pocklington have now been irreversibly re-developed for housing. If the line is ever reconstructed it would be impossible for it to follow the original route for its whole length.
However, documents published in as part of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Local Development Framework Transport Development Plan suggest that new routes into and around these existing built up areas have been identified and safeguarded alongside potential sites for new stations. Additionally section Section 6. Today most of the Selby route is traceable, with a mile section between Bubwith and Market Weighton now reopened to cyclists and pedestrians as the Bubwith Rail Trail.
There is some evidence to be seen at all of the stations and at some of the goods yards.