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  York to Beverley Line
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York for East Coast Main Line
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River Foss
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Sand Hutton Light Railway
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River Derwent
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Stamford Bridge
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Londesborough Park
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Market Weighton
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The York to Beverley Line formed the major part of a railway which ran directly between the English cities of York and Hull. It crossed the largely flat terrain of the Vale of York before making its way through a gap in the Yorkshire Wolds and serviced the towns of Stamford Bridge, Pocklington, Market Weighton and Beverley.





The project for a railway between York and Hull via Beverley was instigated by the York and North Midland Railway (Y&NMR) and its chairman George Hudson. Hudson, keen to maintain the Y&NMR's territorial monopoly in East Yorkshire, had bought the Londesborough Hall estates near Market Weighton in 1845. This move saw off his rival, the Manchester & Leeds Railway who were threatening to build their own line to Hull through that area. Opposition to the scheme from the local canal owners was silenced after the Y&NMR bought them out at inflated prices.

Parliamentary approval for the new line was granted in 1846. The section of track between York and Market Weighton was built quickly due to the relatively easy terrain and opened on 3 October 1847.

The second part of the track from Market Weighton through the Wolds to Beverley was not completed for a further 17 years due to complications arising from Hudson's spectacular downfall amid financial scandal involving one of his other railway companies, the Eastern Counties Railway. After Hudson's resignation in 1849 the Y&NMR suspended all its planned and ongoing projects, opting to consolidate rather than expand any further. The Y&NMR became part of the North Eastern Railway (NER) in 1854.

Before the extension to Beverley could resume the NER had to resolve an ongoing dispute with the local MP, Lord Hotham who owned much of the land to the east of Market Weighton. He eventually agreed to allow the railway on his land providing he got his own station (at Kiplingcotes) and that no trains ran on Sundays. The line was finally completed by the NER and the first through-train from Hull to York ran on 1 May 1865.

The completed route left the Y&NMR's York to Scarborough Line at Bootham Junction north of York and at the other end joined its Hull to Bridlington route north of Beverley. Market Weighton subsequently became the location of the junction between the York to Beverley Line and the Selby to Driffield Line which led to the Yorkshire coast. The entire route had been double-tracked by 1889 and the level-crossing on the busy York to Scarborough main road was replaced by an underbridge in the 1930s.

Modernisation plan

Despite the closure of several under-performing stations in the 1950s the future of the line seemed assured by the start of the following decade. Nine trains ran in each direction each day with healthy passenger usage and the line was reportedly over £5,000 in profit. The first steps towards modernisation of the line had been taken as early as 1953 when the first lifting boom barriers to be used in Britain were installed at the level-crossing at Warthill station.[1] In May 1961 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 making the line single-track with passing loops at Pocklington and Market Weighton. Work was also set 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.

Walkers near the Derwent viaduct at Stamford Bridge


Very little work had been carried out before the modernisation scheme was suddenly halted in February 1962, with owners British Railways announcing that the plans had been suspended for "re-assessment". What was happening became clear on 27 March 1963 when Richard Beeching released his report. The York to Beverley route was earmarked for closure by Beeching 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. Beeching also argued that the majority of passengers were simply travelling between York and Hull and that the stations in-between were underused. This made the line an unnecessary duplicate of a different line between the two cities (the current Hull to York Line via Selby) despite the fact that the more direct line was far from underused. The election of a Labour government in 1964 appeared to hand the route a lifeline but Harold Wilson quickly backtracked on his electoral promises to halt the 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 27 November 1965 with the very last being a six-car DMU running the 9:42 p.m. from York to Hull.

The line today

The former station at Stamford Bridge

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 building 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 as do the platforms on both sides of the old trackbed. The surviving level-crossing gate by the station on High Catton road stands as a reminder of the modernisation work that was never carried out. The impressive brick and cast-iron viaduct at Stamford Bridge that carried the line across the River Derwent was spared from demolition in 1991 and subsequently repaired. Other railway and station buildings still survive almost unaltered at other locations such as Warthill, Holtby, Fangfoss and Kiplingcotes.

The station buildings at Market Weighton were left abandoned before being pulled down in 1979 leaving no trace. There is also nothing left of the station at Earswick apart from one of the signals which stands outside the pub that now occupies the site. The trackbed between Market Weighton and Beverley is now the Hudson cycle path and is protected. 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.


Possible route of reopened line

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 A1079, are struggling to cope with increasing traffic to and from Hull. A report by the Carl Bro Group for East Riding of Yorkshire Council in 2004 concluded that the project was feasible, but would cost around £239 million to build.[2] 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 areas like Huntington, Stamford Bridge and Pocklington have now been irreversibly re-developed for housing. If the line is ever reconstructed at all it would be impossible for it to follow its original route the whole way.

However documents published in 2006 as part of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Local Development Framework Transport Development Plan[3] suggest that new routes into and around these existing built up areas have been identified and safeguarded alongside potential sites for new stations. (Specifically See Section 5.5 : "Protecting New Transport Schemes" and Appendix 2 : Maps 5 and 6)

Additionally section Section 6.63 of the Council's Core Strategy Document[4] (published for public consultation in spring 2008) states: is recommended that land for the following strategic infrastructure and transport schemes be protected from conflicting development:

  • Beverley to York railway route; and
  • Rail links to employment land at Melton, Hedon Haven and Cranaby [sic] (if allocated).

Though it mentions the possibility of rail links to Carnaby - northwards of Beverley - the allocated land does not include space for a direct northbound connection, even though there is ample space in the proposed location to provide one.


Stations along the closed route from York to Beverley. All the stations between Earswick and Market Weighton were designed by the eminent railway architect George Townsend Andrews as was the original 1841 station at York until the present station, designed by NER architects Thomas Prosser and William Peachey, opened in 1877.

Of the 12 intermediate stations between York and Beverley, only six (Earswick, Stamford Bridge, Pocklington, Londesborough, Market Weighton and Kiplingcotes) were still operating by the time the line closed in 1965.

The stations at York and Beverley remain open.


  • Suggitt, Gordon (2006). Lost Railways of North & East Yorkshire. Countryside Books. ISBN 1-85306-918-3. 


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