Station Name: HEBDEN BRIDGE
Station still open but included for completeness

[Source: Alan Young]


Date opened: 5.10.1840
Location: End of Station Road, off Burnley Road (A646)
Company on opening: Manchester & Leeds Railway
Date closed to passengers: Still Open
Date closed to goods 2.5.1966
Company on closing to goods:

British Rail

Present state:

Still Open

County: Yorkshire West Riding, now West Yorkshire
OS Grid Ref: SD994268
Date of visit: August 1974 and many later occasions

Notes: Hebden Bridge station is by no means an architectural gem, but it is a wonderfully preserved and refurbished example of a small town station, the likes of which could be found throughout the British railway network until the 1960s when closure, or demolition of the old buildings and their replacement with ‘bus’ shelters, almost eliminated them; as such it is a place to savour. Knaresborough and Hexham are two other stations in northern England of similar size and character, although these have not retained the pre-Grouping signage found at Hebden Bridge.



Hebden Bridge station has, rightly, won awards reflecting its ‘heritage’ value and the quality of its floral displays. Considering the modest size of the town it serves (fewer than 6,000 inhabitants), today Hebden Bridge station is heavily used (estimated 764,000 passengers in 2014-15, increased from 368,000 in 2004-05). The station car park is quickly filled in the morning, and throughout the day parked cars line the A646 (Burnley Road) from Station Road for almost half a mile towards Mytholmroyd, such is its popularity with commuters. Hebden Bridge is ideally placed as a residential town for people who work in such employment centres as Halifax, Bradford, Leeds, Blackburn, Rochdale and Manchester. Its frequent service makes it a useful railhead for the hamlets and villages scattered on the surrounding hillside and moorland, such as Heptonstall. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Hebden Bridge station welcomed numerous visitors to the scenic Hardcastle Crags, but since the early 1980s the town itself has become is a tourist ‘honeypot’, its station being used by visitors throughout the day. Although it is some way from the town centre, the ten-minute walk from the station through Calder Holmes Park, adjacent to the Rochdale Canal, is delightful and the visitors can look forward to a wide choice of cafés and pubs where they may slake their thirst and satisfy their hunger.

The original station at Hebden Bridge dated from the opening of the railway on 5 October 1840. Until 1 January 1841 it was the western terminus of the line from Leeds and Normanton; on this date the line was extended through Eastwood and Todmorden to the northern end of the Summit Tunnel. From 1 March 1841, when the line through the tunnel was opened to meet the existing rails from Manchester, trains used the entire route through Hebden Bridge between Manchester and Leeds. At Hebden Bridge the building was on the down (Leeds-bound) platform, of two storeys aligned at right angles to the platform and with a pitched roof which prominently overhung the gables, rather in the style of some G T Andrews buildings on the York & North Midland Railway. A goods warehouse was placed to the north-west of the platform. On the up platform there were no facilities, but a single-road engine shed backed onto it. The first timetable (when Hebden Bridge was the western terminus) showed departures to Leeds at 8.00 and 11.30am and at 3.15pm; arrivals from Leeds were at 9.36 and 11.50am and 4.50pm. At Normanton passengers could change for York, Hull, Sheffield and Derby and from there to Birmingham and London. A horse-drawn coach conveyed passengers to and from Littleborough pending the completion of Summit Tunnel.

Below is the timetable issued on the day that Manchester Victoria station opened, replacing the original terminus at Oldham Road:


Up trains: weekdays January 1844

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.18am

Manchester Victoria

5.40 (Wed only)

Leeds Hunslet Lane

9.12am

Manchester Victoria

8.00am

Leeds Hunslet Lane

10.45am

Manchester Victoria

9.00am (starts here)

Leeds Hunslet Lane

3.11pm

Manchester Victoria

10.26am

Leeds Hunslet Lane

5.45pm

Manchester Victoria

2.46pm

Leeds Hunslet Lane

8.02pm

Manchester Victoria

4.48pm

Leeds Hunslet Lane

8.59pm

Manchester Victoria

5.55pm

Leeds Hunslet Lane

-

-

8.32pm

Leeds Hunslet Lane

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

9.12am

Manchester Victoria

9.33am

Leeds Hunslet Lane

9.27pm

Manchester Victoria

8.23pm

Leeds Hunslet Lane

Bradshaw of February 1863 shows a more frequent service than the earlier timetable. Destinations of trains are not always clear in timetables of this date, so Normanton might not be the final destination of some down trains:


Up trains: weekdays February 1863

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.35am

Manchester Victoria

5.30am

Normanton

9.21am

Manchester Victoria

7.31am

Normanton

10.28am

Manchester Victoria

9.35am

Normanton

12.38pm

Manchester Victoria

11.20am

Normanton

2.10pm

Manchester Victoria

1.33pm

Normanton

2.40pm

Manchester Victoria

3.10pm

Normanton

4.55pm

Fleetwood

4.55pm

Normanton

6.35pm

Manchester Victoria

6.16pm

Normanton

7.31pm

Manchester Victoria

7.32pm

Normanton

9.43pm

Manchester Victoria

9.42pm

Normanton

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

8.37am

Manchester Victoria

9.00am

Normanton

12.34pm

Manchester Victoria

11.19am

Normanton

7.57pm

Manchester Victoria

5.51pm

Normanton

9.43pm

Manchester Victoria

9.03pm

Normanton

In the 1870s waiting accommodation was added at Hebden Bridge on the up platform by converting the disused engine shed, and the diminutive platform shown on the Tait lithograph of 1845, reproduced below, was widened and lengthened. The local newspaper carried reports that this waiting room was cold in winter and dusty in summer, but further improvements were not made until the 1890s. In 1872 single sidings were constructed south-east of the station off both the up and down lines, and when widening took place in 1906 these were extended to west of Mytholmroyd viaduct and converted into loops.

The passenger accommodation proved to be inadequate so in 1891/92 new buildings were constructed by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (LYR). Biddle (1973) describes the architecture of the new building as ‘a cheerful smaller edition’ of Nelson station (1892), some 12 miles to the west. At Hebden Bridge the sandstone main building is on the down platform (No.2) today used by trains towards Halifax, Bradford, Mirfield and Leeds. Its central two-storey section which contains the booking hall has a Mansard roof broken by three tall dormers, the central one surmounted by a gable. A bold cornice divides the upper from the lower storey. Single-storey wings, stepped back slightly from the central section, extend on either side, each under a hipped roof. The north-western wing contained the parcel office, but a café (the ‘Coffee Station’) now operates from this room. In the south-eastern wing are a waiting room and toilets. As the land drops away to the south-east, that end of the building is carried on an ‘undercroft’ storey. The upper storey was the stationmaster’s quarters (now used by a children’s nursery). On the platform elevation a handsome, hipped glazed awning with a deep valance extends the full length of the building, supported by a series of iron columns and brackets containing a wheel motif in the spandrels. The up platform (No.1) used by trains to Rochdale, Manchester, Burnley, Blackburn and Preston is backed by a screen wall and is sheltered by a lengthy awning of the same design. At the north-western end of the screen wall is a waiting room. The staggered platforms are connected by a subway, oddly reached by stairs on the down side and a ramp on the other. A hydraulic luggage lift, understood to be the oldest in place at any British station, but no longer used, connects the down platform with the subway.

The rebuilding of the station coincided with the provision of a new signal box in 1891. Originally known as Hebden Bridge East it was equipped with a 36-lever LYR frame, later extended to 38 levers. Hebden Bridge West box, which was situated adjacent to the goods yard, closed in 1934 and was replaced with a 2-lever ground frame released from the existing box.

The goods warehouse was rebuilt in 1877, a large, stone structure under a pitched roof. Its upper floor was used for grain storage, for which purpose there were three hoists on the south-eastern elevation over the taking-in doors, enclosed in timber housing (lucams). A second bay was added in 1884 to the north-western elevation of the existing warehouse.

In January 1922 Hebden Bridge was transferred from LYR to London & North Western Railway (LNWR) ownership when the companies merged; for some years the LYR and LNWR had enjoyed improved relations and co-operation, and in the enlarged LNWR there was strong representation of LYR officials. The merger anticipated the ‘Grouping’ one year later when the LNWR was absorbed into the new London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). The following timetable shows the services from Hebden Bridge during the year when it was part of the LNWR. In the final column Bradford (Exchange) and Leeds (Central) are shown as Bradford and Leeds. Some down trains are divided and the two destinations are shown (e.g.) Bradford/Leeds; in this case trains are divided at Low Moor station. In th opposite direction trains would be amalgamated here.


Up trains: weekdays July 1922

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination(s)

4.31am

Manchester Victoria

5.32am

Bradford/Normanton†

7.12am

Manchester Victoria

7.26am

Bradford

7.32am

Manchester Victoria

7.48am

Normanton

7.50am

Manchester Victoria

8.29am

Halifax

8.12am (Mon & Sat)

Blackpool Central

8.56am

Sowerby Bridge

8.29am

Rochdale

9.08am

Bradford/Leeds

9.06am

Blackpool Central §

9.38am

Halifax

9.13am

Manchester Victoria

9.57am

Wakefield Kirkgate

9.56am

Manchester Victoria

11.37am

Sowerby Bridge

10.25am Mon/Tue/Fri

Colwyn Bay ‡

12.19pm

Bradford

10.33am

Manchester Victoria

1.26pm

Bradford

10.56pm exc Wed/Thu

Blackpool Central

1.58pm

Wakefield Kirkgate

11.37am

Manchester Victoria

2.26pm

Bradford

12.02pm Sat only

Blackpool Central

3.46pm Mon &Sat only

Wakefield Kirkgate

12.09pm

Manchester Victoria

3.53pm

Wakefield Kirkgate ¶

1.05pm

Manchester Victoria

4.09pm

Bradford/Leeds

2.13pm

Manchester Victoria

5.12pm

Bradford/Leeds

2.36pm Sat only

Blackpool Central

5.39pm

Halifax

4.18pm

Manchester Victoria

6.19pm

Halifax

5.00pm

Rochdale

6.46pm

Normanton

5.17pm

Manchester Victoria

7.06pm

Sowerby Bridge

5.33pm

Todmorden

7.47pm

Bradford

6.19pm

Manchester Victoria

8.13pm

York

6.50pm

Manchester Victoria

8.42pm

Halifax

7.34pm

Rochdale

9.33pm

Bradford

8.19pm

Blackpool Central §

10.34pm

Bradford/Leeds

9.15pm

Manchester Victoria

-

-

9.51pm

Manchester Victoria

-

-

10.57pm Tue &Sat only

Todmorden

-

-

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination(s)

7.50am

Manchester Victoria

9.20am

Sowerby Bridge

10.42am

Manchester Victoria

11.26am

Bradford/Leeds

12.20pm

Manchester Victoria

11.41am

Normanton

2.40pm

Manchester Victoria

2.59pm

York

3.36pm

Manchester Victoria

5.15pm

Bradford/Normanton

7.23pm

Manchester Victoria

7.31pm

Bradford

7.54pm

Manchester Victoria

7.40pm

Bradford

10.07pm

Manchester Victoria

8.50pm

Normanton

§ Down train via the Copy Pit route   ‡ Calls to take up for North Wales      ¶ via Cleckheaton       † Train possibly divides en route to serve several destinations: not entirely clear in the timetable

Under LMS administration the station retained its Victorian atmosphere, and the company imposed its character in a limited way by installing ‘Sugg’ gas lamps, lamp nameplates and distinctive ‘Hawkseye’ nameboards with black lettering on a yellow field. Shortly before the Second World War Hebden Bridge’s train service had become generous, particularly on summer Saturdays when extra trains called travelling to or from resorts such as Blackpool, Morecambe and Llandudno. The intervals between trains in this timetable remain erratic. A couple of long-distance services run to Newcastle and to Edinburgh / Glasgow. As in the 1922 timetable, Bradford (Exchange) and Leeds (Central) are shown as Bradford and Leeds. Some down trains are divided and the two destinations are shown (e.g.) Bradford/Leeds; in this case trains are divided at Low Moor station. In the opposite direction trains would be amalgamated here.


Up trains: weekdays July 1938

Destination(s)

Down trains: weekdays

Destination(s)

4.33am

Liverpool Exchange

5.30am

Normanton †

6.03am (Mon exc)

Manchester Victoria

6.06am

Halifax

7.12am

Manchester Victoria

7.20am

Bradford

7.34am

Manchester Victoria

7.46am

Normanton

7.52am

Manchester Victoria

8.28am

Halifax

8.22am (Sat only)

Blackpool Central §

8.51am

Sowerby Bridge

8.27am

Rochdale

9.08am

Leeds

9.08am

Blackpool Central §

9.33am

Halifax

9.16am

Manchester Victoria

9.58pm

Wakefield Kirkgate

9.32am (Sat only)

Morecambe Euston Rd

11.08am (Sat only)

Normanton

9.53am

Manchester Victoria

11.40am

Wakefield Kirkgate

10.35am

Manchester Victoria

11.56 (Sat exc)

Bradford

10.54am

Blackpool Central §

12.18 (Sat only)

Newcastle

11.20am (Sat only) ¶

Llandudno

12.30 (Sat only)

Bradford

11.36am (Sat exc)

Manchester Victoria

1.28pm

Bradford

11.36am (Sat only)

Blackpool Central §

1.58pm

Normanton

12.03pm (Sat only)

Southport §

2.26pm

Bradford

12.07pm (Sat only)

Blackpool Central

3.22pm (Sat only)

Wakefield Kirkgate ¶

12.10pm (Sat exc)

Blackpool North §

3.40pm (Sat only)

Goole

12.14pm (Sat only)

Manchester Victoria

3.47pm (Sat only)

Halifax

12.17pm (Sat exc)

Manchester Victoria

3.48pm (Sat exc)

Halifax

1.05pm (Sat exc)

Middleton Junction

3.53pm (Sat exc)

Wakefield Kirkgate ¶

1.09pm (Sat only)

Middleton Junction

4.08pm

Bradford / Leeds

1.29pm (Sat only)

Blackpool Central §

4.37pm (Sat only)

Leeds

2.16pm

Man Vic/Blackpool C§

4.53pm (Sat only)

Bradford

2.35pm Sat 23&30 July

Blackpool Central

5.02pm (Sat only)

Low Moor

3.05pm (Sat exc)

Manchester Victoria

5.12pm (Sat exc)

Bradford / Leeds

3.08pm (Sat only)

Manchester Victoria

5.21pm (Sat exc)

Halifax

4.19pm

Rochdale

5.29pm (Sat exc)

Leeds

5.01pm (Sat exc)

Rochdale

5.36pm (Sat exc)

Bradford

5.05pm (Sat only)

Rochdale

5.39pm (Sat only)

Halifax

5.16pm

Manchester Victoria

6.15pm (Sat exc)

Halifax

5.28pm (Sat only)

Todmorden

6.24pm (Sat only)

Halifax

5.35pm (sat exc)

Todmorden

6.54pm

Normanton

5.48pm

Manchester Victoria

7.18pm

Sowerby Bridge

6.17pm (Sat exc)

Manchester Victoria

7.52pm

Bradford / |Leeds

6.22pm (Sat only)

Manchester Victoria

7.59pm (Sat only)

Bradford  ø

6.48pm

Manchester Victoria

8.14pm

York

7.29pm (Sat exc)

Rochdale

8.47pm

Leeds

7.39pm (Sat only)

Rochdale

9.14pm (Sat only)

Bradford

7.44pm (Sat only)

Blackburn §

9.39pm

Bradford

8.26pm

Preston §

10.38pm

Bradford / Leeds

9.13pm

Manchester Victoria

12.12am (Sat exc)

Sowerby Bridge

9.54pm

Manchester Victoria

12.21am (Sat only)

Halifax

11.18pm

Manchester Victoria

-

-

11.32pm (Fri only)

Edinburgh / Glasgow

-

-

12.13am

Terminates here

-

-

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination(s)

7.53am

Manchester Victoria

9.18am

Sowerby Bridge

8.55am

Blackpool Central §

11.35am

Bradford / Leeds

10.47am

Manchester Victoria

11.51am

Normanton

11.10am

Manchester Victoria

12.05pm

Bradford

11.16am

Blackpool North §

3.00pm

York

12.10pm

Manchester Victoria

3.18pm

Bradford / Leeds

1.11pm

Blackpool Central § *

5.15pm

Bradford / Normanton

2.40pm

Manchester Victoria

7.29pm

Bradford

3.34pm

Manchester Victoria

7.37pm

Bradford / Leeds

5.11pm

Manchester Victoria

8.53pm

Normanton

7.10pm

Manchester Victoria

9.11pm

Wakefield Kirkgate

7.58pm

Manchester Victoria

9.29pm

Bradford / Leeds

8.36pm

Manchester Victoria

9.48pm

Bradford / Leeds

10.06pm

Manchester Victoria

10.28pm 10 & 17 July

Bradford

-

-

10.28pm 24 & 31 July

Bradford / Leeds

-

-

10.59pm

Halifax

§ Down train via the Copy Pit route   ‡ Calls to take up for North Wales   ø Calls to set down from North Wales     ¶ via Cleckheaton      † Train possibly divides en route to serve several destinations: not entirely clear in the timetable    * Calls when required to set down

At nationalisation in January 1948 the LMS lines in England and Wales became the basis of the new British Railways’ London Midland Region; however, all of the Leeds and Bradford area’s lines were transferred to the North Eastern Region (NE) on 2 April 1950 and Hebden Bridge became the frontier NE station. The NE Region retained the station’s LYR and LMS signs but painted them in the region’s cheerful tangerine colour.

The following table for June to September 1955 was the first to appear in the NE Region timetable, although the station had been administered by this region for over five years. As with the 1922 and 1938 timetable summaries, above, in the final column Bradford (Exchange) and Leeds (Central) are shown as Bradford and Leeds. Some down trains are divided and the two destinations are shown (e.g.) Bradford/Leeds; in this case trains are divided at Low Moor station. In the opposite direction trains would be amalgamated here.


Up trains: weekdays 13 June 1955

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination(s)

4.26am

Manchester Victoria

5.27am

Normanton

4.40am

Manchester Victoria

7.17am

Bradford

7.16am

Liverpool Exchange

7.47am

Normanton

7.53am

Manchester Victoria

8.53am

Bradford/Leeds

8.21am

Manchester Victoria

9.56am

Wakefield Kirkgate

9.15am Sat excepted

Blackpool Central §

11.11am Sat excepted

Bradford/Leeds

9.18am Sat only

Blackpool Central §

12.48pm Sat only

Leeds

9.24am

Blackpool Central §

1.00pm Sat only

York

10.00am

Manchester Victoria

1.05pm

Bradford/Leeds

11.54am

Liverpool Exchange §

1.19pm Sat from 16/7

Bradford

12.49pm Sat only

Manchester Victoria

1.54pm Sat only

Normanton

1.05pm

Manchester Victoria

2.12pm

Bradford/Leeds

1.54pm

Manchester Victoria

3.26pm Sat only

Bradford/Leeds

3.01pm Sat only

Manchester Victoria

3.37pm Sat excepted

Bradford/Wakefield K

3.14pm Sat from 25/6

Liverpool Exchange

3.43pm

Halifax Town

5.01pm Sat excepted

Manchester Victoria

4.09pm

Bradford/Leeds

5.17pm Sat only

Manchester Victoria

5.13pm

Bradford/Leeds

5.34pm Sat excepted

Todmorden

5.33pm

Halifax Town

5.57pm Sat only

Liverpool Exchange

5.56pm

York

6.07pm Sat excepted

Liverpool Exchange

6.17pm Sat excepted

Halifax Town

6.26pm  Sat only

Manchester Victoria

7.00pm

Normanton

6.37pm Sat excepted

Manchester Victoria

7.44pm

Bradford

7.31pm Sat only

Manchester Victoria

8.10pm

York

7.35pm Sat excepted

Manchester Victoria

8.47pm

Leeds

8.23pm

Preston §

9.15pm Sat excepted

Bradford/Leeds

10.01pm

Manchester Victoria

9.23pm Sat only

Bradford

11.15pm Sat only

Manchester Victoria

10.34pm

Bradford/Leeds

-

-

12.01am Sat only

Halifax Town

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination(s)

7.50am

Manchester Victoria

9.22am

Normanton

8.15am

Liverpool Exchange §

9.41am

Leeds

9.22am

Blackpool Central §

3.17pm

Bradford/Leeds

10.16am

Manchester Victoria

5.07pm

Normanton

10.43am

Manchester Victoria

7.26pm

Bradford

11.52am

Blackpool Central §

7.38pm

Leeds

2.41pm

Liverpool Exchange

8.55pm

Normanton

3.33pm

Manchester Victoria

9.13pm

Bradford/Leeds

7.18pm

Manchester Victoria

9.28pm

Bradford/Leeds

7.58pm

Manchester Victoria

10.26pm

Bradford/Leeds

10.05pm

Manchester Victoria

10.52pm

Bradford/Leeds

Although diesel traction was introduced on 14 June 1954 between Leeds, Bradford and Halifax – the first service to be so favoured by British Railways, and a great success as there was a fourfold increase in passengers in four years – it was not until 1 January 1962 that the main Calder Valley service through Hebden Bridge was taken over by diesels.

The Reshaping of British Railways (‘Beeching Report’) of March 1963 did not recommend the Manchester-Halifax-Leeds ‘Calder Valley’ route for closure, but the Copy Pit route (Todmorden / Hall Royd Junction to Rose Grove) was condemned and it closed on 1 November 1965. By the time of the Beeching Report all of the intermediate stations on the Copy Pit route had closed, as had some on the Manchester – Leeds route such as Eastwood and Luddendenfoot.

In the service shown below for summer 1964 the off-peak departures from Hebden Bridge have become at least approximately hourly apart from an early-afternoon gap in the up service, plus seasonal extras on Saturday. A few trains still travel westwards via Copy Pit. This was the final summer when trains ran to Blackpool Central; Beeching (1963) had proposed closure of Blackpool North station, but the town council had notions of an ambitious development on the site of Central station (which did not materialise) and insisted that Central should close instead, with longer-distance trains being diverted to Blackpool North. In the summer 1962 timetable the practice of dividing trains at Low Moor into Bradford Exchange and Leeds Central portions at Low Moor ceased and trains ran through to Leeds, reversing at Bradford: no problem for DMUs. In the same timetable through workings were introduced via Bradford (reverse) and Leeds (reverse) to Harrogate. Through trains to Harrogate ran until September 1967, but from 1 May when Leeds Central closed they were diverted via Leeds City (reverse).


Up trains: weekdays 15 June 1964

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

5.05am

Manchester Victoria

5.28am

Normanton

7.24am

Liverpool Exchange

7.08am

Bradford

8.04am

Manchester Victoria

7.37am

Halifax

8.27am

Manchester Victoria

8.57am

Harrogate

9.23am Saturday only

Blackpool Central §

9.46am

Sowerby Bridge

9.28am

Manchester Victoria

9.58am

Harrogate

9.34am

Blackpool Central §

10.50am

York

9.57am

Liverpool Exchange

10.58am

Harrogate

10.59am

Manchester Victoria

11.58am

Harrogate

11.59am

Manchester Victoria

12.39pm Sat only

Bradford

12.31pm Saturday only

Liverpool Exchange

12.48pm Sat only

Wakefield Kirkgate

1.02pm

Manchester Victoria

12.58pm

Harrogate

1.45pm Saturday only

Blackpool Central §

2.00pm

Harrogate

2.56pm

Manchester Victoria

2.58pm

Harrogate

3.11pm Saturday only

Manchester Victoria

3.19pm Sat only

Leeds

3.31pm

Manchester Victoria

3.28pm Sat excepted

Bradford

3.56pm

Liverpool Exchange

3.31pm Sat only

Bradford

4.58pm Saturday only

Manchester Victoria

4.00pm

Leeds

5.04pm Sat excepted

Manchester Victoria

4.45pm Sat excepted

Halifax

5.30pm

Manchester Victoria

4.59pm

Leeds

5.59pm

Manchester Victoria

5.26pm

Leeds

7.00pm

Liverpool Exchange

5.46pm

York

8.02pm

Manchester Victoria

5.58pm

Leeds

8.17pm

Preston §

6.18pm

Halifax

8.46pm

Manchester Victoria

7.00pm

Harrogate

10.02pm

Manchester Victoria

7.58pm

Leeds

-

-

9.00pm

Harrogate

-

-

9.05pm

Leeds

-

-

10.02pm

Leeds

-

-

11.40pm Sat only

Bradford

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

9.18am

Blackpool Central §

9.39am

Leeds

10.01am

Manchester Victoria

11.42am

York

11.43am

Blackpool Central §

2.40pm

Bradford

11.59am

Manchester Victoria

4.45pm

Bradford

2.59pm

Liverpool Exchange

7.22pm

Bradford

5.01pm

Manchester Victoria

7.43pm

Bradford

7.01pm

Liverpool Exchange

8.43pm

Bradford

7.59pm

Manchester Victoria

9.00pm

Leeds

10.01pm

Manchester Victoria

9.18pm

Bradford

-

-

9.55pm

Bradford

The future of Hebden Bridge station must have seemed insecure in the late 1960s as the NE Region showed no interest in modernising it; nor did the Eastern Region, which absorbed the NE in January 1967. A newspaper article celebrating the opening of Britain’s first park-and-ride station at New Pudsey (between Bradford and Leeds) in that year contrasted its modernity with the ‘flickering gas lamps’ at Hebden Bridge. The station’s goods yard closed in May 1966 and the large warehouse was damaged by fire in 1969 and swiftly demolished; a car park was opened on its site in 1994, but part of the goods yard has continued to be used by a coal merchant.

In the late 1960s BR began to exercise economies by de-staffing and ‘simplifying’ stations, demolishing the buildings and replacing them with utilitarian ‘bus’ shelters. This fate befell stations serving such Northern towns as Colne and Normanton and, further afield, the delightful towns of Ludlow and Ledbury shared this indignity. Hebden Bridge, with its small and declining population and shrinking industry seemed likely to see its station degraded. However, the station survived unscathed and unmodernised into the 1970s, by which time the residents of Hebden Bridge had begun to resist demolition and modernisation of the town itself. Significantly the town centre was designated a Conservation Area and any intention that BR had to simplify the station was thwarted by its being Grade II listed, to include the LYR signs; the signal box was to be granted Grade II listing in 2013. The station continued to be staffed – a deterrent to would-be vandals! – and BR undertook some insensitive modernisation in 1973/74, replacing the gas lamps with electric lighting (carried on ridiculously tall standards on the unroofed sections of the platforms) and removing the LMS nameboards which gave way to the bland ‘Corporate Identity’ nameplates. The LYR running-in boards, which had miraculously survived, were given the Corporate Identity black and white treatment too.

The growing confidence and enterprise of Hebden Bridge’s residents enabled them to confront British Rail’s inflexible aesthetic mediocrity of the late 1970s and enjoy victory. BR yielded to local pressure and repainted the station in Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway colours, with the signs all being given a coat of chocolate and white; BR even replaced the black and white nameplates with unique chocolate and white specimens, but the typeface obstinately remained BR ‘Rail Alphabet’. The work had been completed by summer 1980. Railway Magazine (January 1981) reported that the Chairman of Calder Civic Trust had presented the BR Area Manager with a commemorative plaque as a token of thanks. A further concession to the station’s historic atmosphere was the restoration of ‘heritage’ Sugg lamps (by late 1991) albeit electrically lit; this welcome touch reflected a national trend, which saw such lighting appear in many town centres and in stations as widely spread as Huddersfield, Drem and Littleport. In 1998 Hebden Bridge station, and the signal box, underwent restoration.

In Hebden Bridge signal box (built in 1891, as noted above) many of the levers are out of use, but several work the main line colour light signals while others control the points for the remaining crossover and siding and their associated ground signals. Since 1973 the section of the Manchester & Leeds between Littleborough and Hebden Bridge, as well as the Copy Pit route, has been controlled by Preston Power Signal Box. Hebden Bridge box works Track Circuit Block to Preston PSB to the west and Absolute Block to Milner Royd Junction to the east, where the lines to Halifax and Brighouse diverge. The block instrument is understood to have formerly been installed at Mytholmroyd (West) box until its closure in 1985. Communication between Hebden Bridge and Milner Royd Junction boxes is still by the original LYR block instruments. Hebden Bridge box is scheduled to close in late 2018, but the structure will be retained because, together with the station, it is Grade II listed – the status was granted on 2 May 2013. The box has been refurbished in recent years, but with such sensitivity that the external addition of a lavatory at the top of the stairs could be mistaken for an original feature.

The station is undoubtedly one of the showpieces of the National Rail network and a reminder of the charm that so many stations once possessed. Until the early 1960s many stations benefitted from the loving attention of their staff who tended the gardens and bedecked them in hanging baskets - and proudly displayed certificates in recognition of their efforts. Each summer Hebden Bridge station recaptures these bygone days with splendid floral displays, as seen in some of the accompanying photographs; not surprisingly it has received a ‘Britain in Bloom’ award. This relatively minor station is unusual today in having a café – The Coffee Station – which occupies the former Parcel Office. Its fittings, although new, look as if they have been there since the station was built. The waiting rooms are beautifully presented with displays of historic local railway photographs; the down platform waiting room also boats a piano and a small library. Even the approach to the station has been made attractive as the tarmac road up to the entrance has given way to a paved area with seating and floral displays.

Many stations now have organisations of ‘Friends’ who take care of them. Hebden Bridge is no exception and the Friends of Hebden Bridge Station provide a lively and informative website:
http://www.hbstationfriends.org.uk/

GENERAL BIBLIOGRAPHY – see under BRIEF HISTORY
ADDITIONAL BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR HEBDEN BRIDGE
Barker, Paul Hebden Bridge: a sense of belonging (Frances Lincoln, 2012)
Littleworth, Chris and Nield, Martin ‘The signalling time line’ and ‘Signalboxes visit’ (in Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Society Magazine No.268, July 2016 pp14-17; No.269, Autumn 2016 pp 14-15).
Town Centre Trail (Hebden Bridge Local History Society and Hebden Bridge Walkers’ Action – undated, c2013)

Click here for an appreciation of Hebden Bridge town

Tickets from Michael Stewart

Click here for a brief history of the Copy Pit line
See also Copy Pit Route Collieries

See other stations on the Copy Pit line: Burnley Manchester Road (1st site), Burnley Manchester Road (2nd), Towneley, Holme, Portsmouth (Lancs), Cornholme, Stansfield Hall & Eastwood


Hebden Bridge Gallery 1: 1845 - Early 1960s


In 1845 A F Tait produced a series of lithographs depicting scenes along the Manchester & Leeds ‘Eleven Towns’ railway, and one of these is of Hebden Bridge station, looking south-east. The River Calder is in the left foreground. The distant moors, of almost Alpine proportions, have been subject to more than a little artistic licence. The main station building is on the left (down) platform, but it is obscured by the large goods warehouse so that only the prominent overhanging roof can be seen on the upper storey. The up platform appears to be ‘staggered’ in the up direction, as it still is today, and the building which abuts it is the engine shed. The passenger buildings were replaced in 1891/92.
Lithograph by A F Tait


1894 1: 2,500 OS map. The layout of Hebden Bridge passenger station is seen before it was rebuilt in 1891/92, soon after the revision of this map was carried out. The platforms are partially staggered, the Halifax-bound platform (with the main station building) being displaced to the south-east of the Manchester platform, which has a much smaller building. The goods facilities are north-west of the passenger station on the Halifax-bound side, comprising a large warehouse and several sidings, including wagon turntables. South-east of the station, on the opposite side of the running lines, are the signal box and the siding which serves the town’s gas works. The railway continues with four tracks towards Halifax' Click here for a larger version.

1963-64 1: 2,500 map. Hebden Bridge station is now within British Railways’ North Eastern Region. The passenger and goods facilities are still extensive but the gas works is now closed and the siding has been removed. Semi-detached ‘Station Cottages’ are shown almost opposite the main station building; they were not named on the earlier map. Click here for a larger version
This view, looking south-east, is of part of a panoramic view of 1881 and it includes , includes the original station building at Hebden Bridge and the first bay of the goods warehouse (built in 1877). Victoria cotton mill dominates the centre of the photograph and May Royd Mill (dealing with corn, but later fustian cloth) is to the left. The town's gas works, with its prominent chimney is beyond the railway. The station building, with its alignment at right angles to the down platform and overhanging pitched roof, is reminiscent of the work of G T Andrews on the Hull / York-Scarborough lines and ‘Old Main Line’ in County Durham. However, there is no suggestion that he was involved in the design of Hebden Bridge station. Click here to see a larger version.
Photo from Pennine Horizons Digital Archive

A tinted photograph of Hebden Bridge looking north pre-1908, after the station buildings have been replaced. The town on the floor and north-eastern slopes of the Calder valley is replete with public buildings, houses and mills with their prominent chimneystacks, constructed of local sandstone. The village of Heptonstall is one the distant hill top. Victoria Mill (lower right) occupies the site immediately south-east of the station; for many years F & H Sutcliffe manufactured portable buildings here. The passenger station is seen with its generous platform roofing, and beyond is the large railway goods warehouse distinguished by its double-pitched roof and row of lucams (gabled timber structures sheltering hoists). The second bay of the warehouse, built in 1884, still looks relatively new. The station’s water tank and signal box are on the near side of the railway at the foot of the picture. The Crow Nest works of the joint Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd Gas Board is seen bottom right.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Hebden Bridge looking north pre-1908, after the station buildings have been replaced. The passenger station is seen with its generous platform roofing, and beyond is the large railway goods warehouse distinguished by its double-pitched roof and row of lucams (gabled timber structures sheltering hoists). The station’s water tank and signal box are on the near side of the railway at the foot of the picture.
Photo from Jim Lake collection

Hebden Bridge station looking south-east along the up (Manchester-bound) platform c1910. Today, over a century later, the station is almost unchanged, even carrying many of the LYR signs. The passenger facilities provided in 1840 proved inadequate and 1891/92 the LYR replaced them with the structures seen on this photograph. The buildings are of local sandstone and they complement those of the town. The hipped, glazed awnings on both platforms are of generous proportions. Beneath the awnings the style of gas lighting fixtures is typical of LYR practice before World War 1 (seen, for example, at Thongs Bridge station), although a smaller casement lamp in the standard behind the buffer stop. The goods platform is seen far left. Beyond the station the prominent building is Victoria Mill.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

A fascinating view of Robertshaw Brothers’ premises at Hebden Bridge. The vehicles are probably deliberately posed for the camera and from them we can deduce the date to be sometime after 1931 but prior to the Second World War. The Robertshaw name was, and still is, common in what is now West Yorkshire. The photograph shows an aspect of railway operation which is now confined to history; carting agents. Whilst most railway companies possessed their own road vehicle fleets, the use of carting agents on contract to the railways was commonplace and such contracts gave the agents the right to advertise themselves as agents for the relevant railway company, as seen here. In urban and industrial areas, carting agents would have a large fleet of vehicles but in rural areas an agent might be a much smaller affair with just a couple of staff and vehicles. Click here to see a larger version with an expanded caption.
Photo from Jim Lake collection and Photo from Pennine Horizons Digital Archive

Hebden Bridge station looking north-west from the down platform in 1951. The view will be familiar to present-day users of the station as it has changed so little; even the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway nameboard and ‘Way Out’ signs are in place in 2016. What appears to be a 7F 0-8-0 is hauling a through freight train without any use of the vacuum break on its vehicles, as indicated by
headlamp code F
.
Copyright photo from Stations UK

Hebden Bridge station looking south-east along the up platform c1950s. The passenger station looks very much as it does today (2016) but Victoria Mill, the large structure behind the main station building on the down platform, and the goods warehouse (far left) have been demolished. The platform in the foreground is strewn with sleepers. The gas lamp standard is of the design favoured by the LMS.
Photo from John Mann collection

Hebden Bridge station possessed a most imposing goods warehouse. The north-western end of the shed is seen here c1960 with the yard crane in the foreground.
Photo from John Mann collection and Pennine Horizons Digital Archive

Hebden Bridge station looking south-east from the up platform in the early 1960s. The goods facilities are still in use, with the siding to the left occupied by wagons. In the background Victoria Mill, beyond the main building, has been reduced in height in comparison to its size on earlier photos. The passenger station looks very much as it does today, although the masonry seen here is soot-blackened and the gas lamps are genuine; in 2016 the sandstone structure has been cleaned and restored to its pale cream colour (the work being done in the 1970s) and the ‘gas lamps’ are electrically lit.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Click here for Hebden Bridge Gallery 2:
Early 1960s - July 1980

 

 

 

[Source: Alan Young]




Last updated: Friday, 23-Dec-2016 17:23:26 GMT
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