Yorkshire MP calls on government to restore Beverley to York railway line cut by Beeching


The former Stamford Bridge station is now a members' club and sports hall
The former Stamford Bridge station is now a members’ club and sports hall

Graham Stuart (Tory) wants part of the £ 500million pot for old road restoration feasibility studies diverted to the Beverley-York line, which closed in the 1960s as part of the cuts Beeching.

The MP wrote to Railways Minister Chris Heaton-Harris to advocate for the line, which had stations at Stamford Bridge, Pocklington and Market Weighton.

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Passengers arriving from Beverley must now pass through Hull to access the rest of the rail network after their station lost its direct link to York.

Pocklington station shortly after closing

The £ 500million fund will be used to develop proposals from community groups and local authorities who believe they have a business case for reopening a line.

Flagship projects announced so far include the return of passenger trains on the dedicated freight line from Newcastle to Ashington via Blyth, and a route from Blackpool to Fleetwood along the Lancashire coast.

Mr Stuart has partnered with the Minsters Rail Campaign – named after the 32-mile route, the Minsters Line – in an effort to improve East Riding connectivity and reduce congestion on the A1079 towards York.

An old railway sign that can still be seen in Pocklington

“This announcement is great news for areas like Beverley and Holderness, which could benefit from better rail links to other parts of the country. This can increase opportunities by facilitating access to new jobs or education, and it can stimulate new investment in the region.

“Not to mention that better public transport can help get cars off our roads – reducing traffic and helping us meet our climate goals.

“I have supported the Minsters Rail Campaign for many years, which have worked tirelessly to advocate for the restoration of the Beverley Line to York, and I am happy to help advance their cause with the government.

Roy Begg, board member of the Minsters Rail Campaign, added: –

“We are delighted that Graham has spoken directly to the responsible minister to highlight our campaign for the restoration of the Beverley to York railway line and we hope that at last our voice will be heard at the highest levels of government.

“The reopening of the old railway line would be a fantastic opportunity for the region and fits in perfectly with the ‘Northern Powerhouse’. This would improve east-west connectivity and also strengthen the resilience of the existing road through Hull, which is likely to be disrupted due to flooding. “

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also announced an additional £ 20million for the New Stations Fund to support areas that have never had rail services. The fund has so far been used to build 10 brand new stations in England and Wales.

“This announcement follows funding of £ 600,000 for Beverley Station to renovate the platform bridge and generally improve its look and feel. It’s fantastic that Beverley and Holderness are starting to see the benefits of a bigger investment in the North.

What was the Minsters line and could it be restored?

Minsters Lane was so called because it connected York Minster to Beverley Minster.

The full length of the road was opened in 1865, providing an alternate route from York to Hull. It left the York Line at Scarborough at Bootham Junction, north of York, and crossed east through the Wolds, stopping at many intermediate stations: Earswick, Warthill, Holtby, Stamford Bridge, Fangfoss, Yapham Gate , Pocklington, Nunburnholme, Londesborough Park, Londesborough, Market Weighton, Kiplingcotes and Cherry Burton. However, only six were still open when the line closed in 1965.

Trains could then join the Hull line at Bridlington and this was the preferred route between York and Hull for a considerable period of time.

At the time of closure, the York-Beverley line was costing over £ 107,000 to operate, but yielding only around £ 90,000 in revenue.

Much of the old railway line still exists, but development has taken place on sections at Pocklington, Stamford Bridge and York. Earthworks and field boundaries mark the old road in the York Valley, and the section between Market Weighton and Beverley has been converted to the Hudson Way cycle path.

The Minsters Rail campaign proposed a new alignment with different station locations. They want the new route to leave the York-Scarborough line at Haxby, with a reopened station that could serve both lines. The new Stamford Bridge station could be located on the A166 on the outskirts of the village, and in Pocklington a site off Hodsow Lane has been identified as the old station has been redeveloped. It would be convenient to access it from the A1079 and a relay park could be set up next to it.

At Market Weighton, the old Londesborough Road station has been built. Three new locations were therefore suggested, notably west of Londesborough Road, Clay Lane or Goodmanham Road.

The new alignment would bypass towns rather than pass through them as the original Victorian road did, and encourage “park and ride” from outlying villages.

Previous studies on the feasibility of reopening the line have established that even if it would relieve commuter traffic, it would be unlikely that there would be demand from freight companies. Operating costs were estimated at £ 2.9million and it was implied that rail services would require government subsidies.

The East Riding Council has distanced itself from the program in recent years, saying it does not believe it could be implemented until 2030.

What remains of the original line?

At Stamford Bridge, the station, platforms, passage gates and the right hangar have survived and have been converted for community use. The station is now a private club with a bar, reception hall and lounge. The goods shed is a sports hall, the east yard is a parking lot and the west platform is a play area.

The iron bridge and the viaduct over the River Derwent are listed and protected.

Fangfoss Station is a private house and the site is a caravan park.

In Pocklington, the station, the station master’s house and the freight shed are listed. The train shed is now the Pocklington school sports hall and the main entrance is a bay for the bus station.

Kiplingcotes station has survived as a fascinating time capsule – it was built for Lord Hotham’s private use and the station building, platforms and signal post remain unchanged, as does the station master’s house. . The Hotham family still live in nearby Dalton Hall to this day.

Cherry Burton Station is a private home but the platform still exists and a path runs alongside it on the old railway line.

A slanted bridge on the road between Etton and Goodmanham can be seen.

There are two former keeper’s cottages listed at Market Weighton and Barmby Moor.

Earswick station was demolished and the Flag & Whistle pub was built on the site. Holtby Station is now a private home, as are Nunburnholme and Londesborough.

Market Weighton station was demolished.


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