Station Name: HOLMFIRTH

[Source: Alan Young]


Date opened: 1.7.1850
Location: On the west of Station Road, Holmfirth
Company on opening:

Authorising Act: Huddersfield & Sheffield Joint Railway. Part of Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway from 1847

Date closed to passengers: 2.11.1959
Date closed completely: 3.5.1965
Company on closing:

Passenger services: British Railways (North Eastern Region)Goods services: British Rail (North Eastern Region)

Present state: Main station building is extant, with some alteration; in residential use. Part of the platform is in place. Goods shed is in residential use.
County: Yorkshire West Riding (now West Yorkshire)
OS Grid Ref: SE144086
Date of visit:

August 1982, April 2014, February 2016

Notes: The AA Illustrated road book of England & Wales (1961) dismissed Holmfirth with not so much as a description, merely noting its population of 18,790, early closing day on Tuesday and market day on Thursday, then referring to Saddleworth Moor and Holme Moss BBC television transmitter. Thanks to the BBC the town is now a tourist destination as the setting for the much-loved comedy Last of the Summer Wine; earlier generations chuckled (or winced!) at the saucy seaside postcards produced by Bamforth’s of Holmfirth. The town owes its growth to the woollen industry, originally found in cottages on the surrounding hills where spinning and weaving was carried out and fine worsteds were manufactured. In the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries production migrated downhill to water mills within Holmfirth’s steep valley, powered by swift streams and, later, reservoirs. Terraces and cottages of sandstone clamber up the steep valley sides of this quaint Pennine town, which was reached in 1850 by a branch railway. The economy of the town was boosted by its new railway and by the use of steam power in the mills which used coal brought in by rail.

Although the branch was double-track Holmfirth station possessed one side platform, east of the rails, with a bay set behind it. Had proposed extensions of the branch gone ahead a second side platform would have been added. The station building was a handsome Tudor sandstone villa with steeply pitched roofs and three sets of tall, coupled chimneystacks. At either end were tall gabled sections with mullioned windows on the ground and first floor and smaller windows set close to the apex of the gables. Between the large gables on the platform elevation was a large canted bay at ground floor level whilst facing the road there was a cross gable with a mullioned window above the height of the first floor windows in the main gables, and a pointed arch entrance beneath. In the 1890s the platform was extended and raised, and in this decade the bay platform was infilled. In 1896-97 to the north of the station building a waiting room and office range was constructed. This was fronted by a 180ft iron and glass verandah of ridged section with a serrated valance. Until this time the main entrance to the station had been through the centrally-placed door in the station building, but a new, larger entrance for passengers was constructed to the north-east of the building. In 1883 a 45ft locomotive turntable was installed at the end of the branch.

Goods facilities were west of the passenger station, including a single-road stone-built shed and a 10-ton crane. Textiles and metal castings were the principal traffic handled.  North-east of the station building stood a woollen transhipment shed, behind the platform, and a siding passed through it. After the remodelling of the station, the rails were cut back to end at the northern wall of the shed. A Gloucester Wagon Company signal box stood north of the passenger station and east of the tracks; it was replaced in 1899 with a standard L&Y box after the original one was damaged by fire.

At first the branch was operated by a shuttle service and passengers changed at Brockholes. February 1863 Bradshaw showed seven weekday and three Sunday departures for Huddersfield and the same frequency of arrivals.

Departures: weekdays
February 1863

Destination

Arrivals: weekdays

Origin

7.35am

Huddersfield

7.26am

Huddersfield

8.50am

Huddersfield

8.44am

Huddersfield

11.00am

Huddersfield

10.53am

Huddersfield

1.10pm

Huddersfield

12.40pm

Huddersfield

3.10pm

Huddersfield

2.55pm

Huddersfield

5.00pm

Huddersfield

4.53pm

Huddersfield

7.45pm

Huddersfield

7.38pm

Huddersfield

Departures: Sunday

Destination

Arrivals: Sunday

Origin

6.55am

Huddersfield

6.50am

Huddersfield

11.10am

Huddersfield

10.37am

Huddersfield

8.10pm

Huddersfield

8.00pm

Huddersfield

In December 1895 the service had improved considerably: 15 trains departed on Monday-to-Friday and 16 on Saturday, destinations being Huddersfield, Halifax and Bradford (via Halifax, Clifton Road or Mirfield) and there were four Sunday departures.

Departures: weekdays
December 1895

Destination

Arrivals: weekdays

Origin

5.45am

Bradford ¶

5.33am

Huddersfield

6.45am

Bradford ¶

6.27am

Huddersfield

7.37am

Bradford §

7.30am

Halifax

8.33am

Bradford ¶

8.15am

Bradford ¶

9.30am

Bradford ‡

9.20am

Bradford ¶

11.00am

Halifax

10.52am

Bradford ¶

12.37pm

Bradford ¶

12.30pm

Bradford ¶

2.00pm

Bradford ¶

1.50pm

Bradford ¶

3.05pm

Bradford ¶

2.50pm

Bradford ¶

4.50pm

Bradford ¶

4.42pm

Bradford ¶

6.03pm

Bradford ¶

5.50pm

Bradford ‡

7.00pm

Bradford ¶

5.37pm

Bradford ‡

7.55pm

Halifax

7.32pm

Bradford

9.18pm

Bradford ¶

9.10pm

Huddersfield

9.35pm (Sat only)

Huddersfield

9.25pm (Sat only)

Huddersfield

11.00pm

Bradford ¶

10.50pm

Halifax

-

-

11.20pm (Sat only)

Bradford ¶

Departures: Sunday

Destination

Arrivals: Sunday

Origin

9.10am

Bradford ¶

9.00am

Huddersfield

10.57am

Bradford ¶

10.48am

Bradford ¶

5.05pm

Bradford ¶

3.15pm

Bradford ¶

8.15pm

Bradford ¶

8.00pm

Huddersfield

KEY;       ¶ via Halifax          § via Clifton Road         ‡ via Mirfield

The line was well patronised, its trains regularly formed of three or more carriages; Earnshaw remarks that prior to World War I services were often so crowded that ticket collectors boarded evening trains at Thongs Bridge to relieve congestion at Holmfirth’s ticket barrier. Most passenger trains were hauled by L&Y 0-4-4Ts and 0-6-2Ts until about 1900 when Aspinall 2-4-2Ts were introduced. Early twentieth century goods traffic was generally hauled by LYR A-Class 0-6-0s and 0-8-0s with coal the principal inbound traffic and woollen products being dispatched.

The LYR system was absorbed by the London & North Western Railway in January 1922 and in January 1923 the Holmfirth branch became part of the London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). At this time the passenger train frequency had changed little from that in 1895, as seen in the timetable for July 1922.

Departures: weekdays
July 1922

Destination

Arrivals: weekdays

Origin

5.35am

Huddersfield

6.00am

Huddersfield

6.10am

Brockholes

6.27am

Huddersfield

6.43am

Huddersfield

7.06am

Huddersfield

7.15am

Huddersfield

8.08am

Huddersfield

8.25am

Huddersfield

9.18am

Huddersfield

9.29am

Huddersfield

10.35am

Huddersfield

10.43am

Huddersfield

12.32pm

Huddersfield

12.50pm

Huddersfield

1.47pm

Huddersfield

1.55pm

Huddersfield

2.55pm

Huddersfield

3.05pm

Huddersfield

4.33pm

Huddersfield

4.42pm

Huddersfield

5.41pm

Huddersfield

5.56pm

Huddersfield

6.17pm (Sat excepted)

Huddersfield

7.00pm

Huddersfield

6.50pm (Sat only)

Huddersfield

7.57pm

Huddersfield

7.48pm

Huddersfield

8.50pm

Huddersfield

8.36pm

Huddersfield

9.20pm (Sat only)

Huddersfield

9.11pm (Sat only)

Huddersfield

-

-

9.46pm

Huddersfield

-

-

10.58pm

Huddersfield

Departures: Sunday

Destination

Arrivals: Sunday

Origin

9.00am

Huddersfield

10.48am

Huddersfield

11.10am

Huddersfield

7.58pm

Huddersfield

8.20pm

Huddersfield

10.39pm

Huddersfield

However, as elsewhere, buses were to lure passengers away from the railway. Holmfirth’s station was a half-mile uphill walk from the town centre along an increasingly busy road, which deterred would-be passengers when buses could collect or drop them in the centre. The frequent train service was maintained until World War 2. The use of Fowler 2-6-4T locos on the branch damaged the turntable at Holmfirth, and late in 1938 it was dismantled and a run-round loop replaced it; thereafter most trains worked tender-first to Holmfirth and smokebox-first in the opposite direction.

Whilst in summer 1938 a frequent train service was maintained in the face of bus competition, it was significantly reduced after the outbreak of World War 2 – an economy that affected many British lines. In June 1943 the passenger service had declined to seven departures on Monday-to-Friday, eight on Saturday and no Sunday trains. The first British Railways (BR) London Midland Region timetable of summer 1948 showed a slight reduction to six weekday departures. On 2 April 1950 in a BR regional boundary adjustment the branch was transferred to the North Eastern Region, although the branch was not included in that region’s timetable until winter 1950-51 (commencing 25 September). No Sunday service was provided on the branch.

Departures: weekdays
September 1950

Destination

Arrivals: weekdays

Origin

6.37am

Low Moor

7.03am (Sat excepted)

Halifax

7.12am (Sat excepted)

Halifax

8.05am

Huddersfield

8.27am

Huddersfield

1.02pm

Huddersfield

10.32pm

Bradford Exchange

4.30pm

Mirfield

1.33pm

Huddersfield

5.42pm

Bradford Exchange

4.53pm (Sat only)

Leeds City

6.25pm (Sat excepted)

Huddersfield

5.00pm (Sat excepted)

Bradford Exchange

-

-

In 1955/56 the woollen ‘tranship’ warehouse was demolished. Use of the branch continued to decline during the 1950s, and the train service dwindled to only three departures on weekdays in the summer 1959 timetable: morning trains to Halifax Town and Huddersfield and an early evening train to Bradford Exchange. Three trains arrived, two from Huddersfield and one from Leeds City. The passenger service ended on 2 November 1959, the date when the formal winter timetable began – almost two months later than normal owing to a printing dispute which delayed timetable production. Erroneously the Holmfirth service appeared in the winter 1959-60 timetable book; the closure of the branch coincided with the introduction of diesel multiple units on the Huddersfield-Penistone line, and the three phantom Holmfirth branch trains in each direction were also shown as diesel-operated. So it was that steam haulage was retained until the end on the branch, and Holmfirth station also kept its traditional atmosphere with gas lighting and, it appears, no BR signage, although a coat of BR(NE) oriental blue paint was applied to the woodwork and verandah.

After closure the branch was singled (1961) and Holmfirth signal box was decommissioned. At least three DMU excursions visited the branch, including an RCTS special in September 1964 and a school special to Wakefield in March 1965. On 3 May 1965 the branch was finally closed; Earnshaw notes that towards the end of April Type 4 diesel No. D259 ran trials along the branch and 8F No. 48305 had the sad task of hauling away the last few remaining empty wagons. The rails were removed during 1966 and Holmfirth station stood derelict for many years. The office and waiting room range, together with the verandah, was demolished in the mid 1980s and a place of worship was built on the northern end of the station site in 1985. The station building was restored for residential use, its elegant platform elevation marred by a two-storey flat-roofed extension, later remodelled with a tasteful gable more in keeping with the Grade II listed structure to which it is attached. In February 2016 the station building was empty but, advertised as ‘station master’s house’, it had been sold. The former trackbed was also available to buy for residential use, so it will presumably soon be built upon.

Sadly, the tourists seeking a quaint ‘Summer Wine’ experience in Holmfirth, including horse-drawn tours of the town and afternoon tea in ‘Sid’s Café’, are denied the pleasure of arriving by train. How delightful a steam-hauled shuttle service from Brockholes would be!

Route map drawn by Alan Young. Tickets from Michael Stewart. Bradshaw from Alan Young,

Click here for a brief history of the Holmfirth branch.

To see other stations on the Holmfirth branch
click on the station name:
Thongs Bridge & Brockholes

Holmfirth Station Gallery 1: Early 20th century - c1950s

On a Bank Holiday in 1897 some smartly-attired gentlemen have gathered on Holmfirth station and are standing beside the office range and beneath the glazed awning, built only months before the photo was taken. The gas lamps with their large glass lanterns and the selection of posters on the board in the foreground are of interest.
Photo from Jim Lake collection




1854 1: 10,560 OS mao. The station buildings can be seen on this map which shows
it soon after opening
.


1893 1: 2,500 OS map. The station building and, to the north, the woollen transhipment warehouse (with a siding passing through) are seen east of the tracks adjacent to the north-south Station Road. Although there are two ‘running lines’, only the eastern (down) one has a platform, with a siding and bay behind it. Immediately south of the platform the lines join at the turntable: the end of the branch. West of the passenger facilities are two goods loops, the western one passing through the goods warehouse, which meet beyond the warehouse but do not re-join the running lines. A further siding from the north terminates in the warehouse. A yard crane and weigh office (WM = weighing machine) are indicated north of the goods warehouse. The approach road from Bridge Lane to the goods yard is shown. The signal box is north of the station on the down side. Holmfirth station is at the northern edge of the continuously built-up area of the town. Click here for a larger version.


1906 1: 2,500 OS map. This map shows the glazed platform roofing in front of the station building and extending northwards as far as the ‘tranship’ shed. The rails have been removed from the bay platform, over which the roofing extends. Click here for a larger version.


1966 1: 2,500 OS map. The station is shown as ‘Disused’, but the rails, platform and buildings are in place. The signal box and turntable have been removed, but an additional crane is marked on the approach to the goods yard. Click here for a larger version.

Looking north-east at Holmfirth station probably in the first decade of the twentieth century. The station staff are standing attentively for the photographer.  The original station building is in the foreground with the large verandah beyond, and the two-storey woollen transhipment shed towards the far end of the platform. A passenger train is entering. To the left are the goods facilities with the stone-built warehouse in the background.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection


Looking south at Holmfirth station c1910. The station building can be seen towards the far end of the platform. The lengthy verandah was added in the 1890s. Although built on a double-track branch Holmfirth never received a second platform. The goods facilities are to the west of the tracks and the horse-and-cart will be using them.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Looking north-eastwards at Holmfirth c1910 from a point close to the turntable at the end of the line. Although built on a double-track route, Holmfirth only ever had one platform. The handsome Tudor-style sandstone station building, dating from the station’s opening in 1850, is in the right foreground, with casement gas lanterns attached. Beyond it stretches the verandah which was installed in the 1890s. At the far end of the verandah is the two-storey woollen ‘tranship’ shed.  The single-road goods warehouse is seen far left.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Holmfirth station, looking south at the single platform c1910. In the left foreground is the woollen transhipment warehouse, through which a siding formerly passed. The large verandah and the single-storey building seen where the staff are standing were added to the station in the 1890s. Beyond is the original station building with its two tall gables and three lofty chimneystacks. The tinting of the photograph probably gives an accurate impression of the soot-stained sandstone of the ‘tranship’ shed, but the two buildings beyond have been coloured as if they are of red brick; both were also of blackened sandstone. The gas lanterns with their deep glass bowls are of a style common in pre-WW1 times.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Looking west across the platform of Holmfirth station c1950s. By this date the platform lighting is of the ‘Sugg’ style, installed either in later LMS or BR days. The branch passenger train is headed by Ivatt-designed Class 2MT-A 2-6-2T No.41264. The loco was built at BR Crewe works in July 1950. She was withdrawn in December 1966 from 12A, Carlisle Upperby shed, and cut up by Campbells, Airdrie, in January 1968.
Photo by K Field

Click here for Holmfirth Station Gallery 2:
May 1955 - 6 September 1964

 

 

 

[Source: Alan Young]




Last updated: Sunday, 21-May-2017 10:14:24 BST
© 1998-2016 Disused Stations