Station Name: LOFTUS

 

[Source: Ken Mell]



Date opened: 1.4.1875
Location: West side of Station Road (B1366)
Company on opening: North Eastern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 2.5.1960
Date closed completely: 12.8.1963
Company on closing: British Railways North Eastern Region
Present state:

The stationmaster's house survives as a private residence but the remainder of the station buildings which were attached to it have been demolished. The large brick goods shed on the 'up' side of the line is also still extant.

County: North Yorkshire
OS Grid Ref: NZ716180
Date of visit: 25.10.2007

Notes: Lofthouse Station opened for goods traffic on 27th May 1867, it was renamed Loftus on 1st November 1874.  The station opened to passenger traffic on 1st April 1875 as the terminus of the line from Saltburn becoming a through station when the Loftus – Whitby line was opened on 3rd December 1883. The station was closed to passengers on 2nd May 1960 but remained open for goods traffic until  12th August 1963.  

The station had two platforms with a large range of brick buildings incorporating the stationmaster’s house and the signal box on the ‘down’ side and a smaller brick waiting room and toilet on the up side. The goods yard was on the down side of the line behind the station and comprised three sidings with a substantial brick goods shed.

The line through the station  was re-laid from Skinningrove  to serve Boulby Potash Mine; this opened on 1st April 1974. At this time the platforms were demolished along with the majority of the station buildings leaving only the stationmaster’s house and the goods shed.

BRIEF HISTORY OF TEESIDE - WHITBY VIA THE COAST
Trains from Teesside to Whitby started operation on 3rd December, 1883 with a northern terminus at Saltburn. Trains for Whitby Town reversed at Saltburn West Junction to allow them to take the extension line from Saltburn to Brotton and thence follow the coastal line to Whitby through Loftus which up to then had been a terminus.

On 16th July 1885 the line from Whitby to Scarborough was opened so allowing some trains to run through to Scarborough. These trains called at Whitby West Cliff which was connected to Whitby Town by a shuttle service.

In the summer of 1933 the northern terminus was changed to Middlesbrough and trains were then routed by way of Nunthorpe, Guisborough and Boosbeck to meet the original route at Brotton. A reversal was required on this route at Guisborough where rules were relaxed and trains of up to seven coaches in length were propelled in and out of the

station which was at the end of a spur. Occasional summer trains would make Brotton via Redcar and the Saltburn extension.

Closure of the railway started pre Beeching with the Brotton to Saltburn  section closing to passengers on 6th September 1957, Whitby West Cliff to Loftus closing to all traffic on 3rd May 1958, Loftus to Boosbeck closing to passengers on 30th April  1960 and the section from Boosbeck to Guisborough closing to all traffic on the same day. The line from Boosbeck to Brotton was closed completely on 12th September 1964.

The line remained open for goods from Saltburn West Junction through to Skinningrove and following the opening of a potash mine at Boulby the line was reinstated for the carriage of minerals between Skinningrove and Brotton  from 1st April 1974.

The coastal rail link between Teesside and Whitby used a number of pre existing railway routes which had been constructed primarily with the ironstone mining activities as their main motivation. The individual lines are described below:

GUISBOROUGH - BROTTON - SKINNINGROVE (The Cleveland Railway route)
In 1862 the Cleveland Railway were pressing eastwards from Guisborough with the construction of their mineral railway and had reached Boosbeck which was quickly opened to traffic. By 1865 the Cleveland Railway had extended their line from Boosbeck to Brotton with goods traffic using it from 23rd February of that year.and by April goods traffic was working to Skinningrove. On 30th June 1865 the railway was absorbed into the North Eastern Railway.

SALTBURN - BROTTON (The Saltburn Extension) & SKINNINGROVE - LOFTUS
The 1865 Act authorised the North Eastern Railway to build a railway from Saltburn to Brotton in order to allow ironstone from the mines in the Brotton and Loftus areas to travel directly to the various works on the Tees east of Middlesbrough. The new line included the impressive Upleatham viaduct, designed by T.E. Harrison, with eleven arches, 783 feet in length and 150 feet high situated on the southern outskirts of Saltburn. Also authorised in this Act was the Priestcroft Curve which branched from the new Saltburn – Brotton line near North Skelton to connect with the Brotton to Guisborough route of the old Cleveland Railway. Also authorised in this act was the completion of  the railway as far as Loftus so connecting the town with Saltburn, Guisborough and Middlesbrough. This necessitated the construction of a large curving viaduct over the Kilton Valley consisting of iron girders supported by twelve stone piers carrying the railway at a maximum height of 150 ft above Kilton Beck. In 1911 mining activity resulted in the undermining of the viaduct foundations and it was necessary for the line to be closed here for two years whilst the viaduct was buried in spoil from local mines. An embankment was formed and the line was reopened in 1913. Passengers were conveyed to and from Loftus and Skinningrove by road and mineral trains from the Loftus area reached Teesside via Whitby, Grosmont and Battersby.

In order for trains to reach the mines and gasworks below the village of Carlin How a zig zag was built; a formation most unusual for a British railway. The branch started north of  Skinningrove station and ran for about ¾ mile at about 1 in 37 down into the valley before ending in a reversing neck below Kilton Viaduct. The second leg was much steeper at 1in 28ending in another reversing neck from which trains could proceed along the valley floor to the various sidings.

On 1st July 1872 the line from  Saltburn to Brotton was opened to goods traffic and on 1st April 1875 a passenger service was introduced between Saltburn and Loftus calling at Brotton and Skinningrove. By 1878 the Priestcroft curve was opened joining Boosbeck to North Skelton (no passenger station here yet) so allowing traffic from the Guisborough direction to run directly to Saltburn. Passenger trains between Guisborough and Saltburn started on
1st November 1878 and ran via Boosbeck station which was opened on the same day. Many of these trains ran to Saltburn via Brotton necessitating three reversals; at Hutton Junction, Guisborough, at Brotton and at Saltburn West Junction. Some services reached Saltburn directly by the Priestcroft curve although regular passenger workings using the curve had ceased by 1918. The Guisborough – Brotton – Saltburn – Loftus services were obvious candidates for NER push-pull operation; LNER Steam Railcars and later the BR DMUs were used to advantage here.

On 1st July 1902 North Skelton station was opened and remained in use until 1951.On 6th September 1957 the Saltburn West Junction to Brotton line was closed to passengers but remains open for freight to this day. Following the demise of the Loftus – Whitby service in 1958, Loftus again became a terminus with passenger trains running to Middlesbrough via Guisborough until 30th April 1960. Goods facilities here came to an end on 10th August 1963. The line was singled and reopened beyond Skinningrove to Boulby on 1st April 1974. It remains open and carries mineral traffic from Boulby Mine and steel from Skinningrove.

WHITBY - LOFTUS (The Whitby, Redcar and Middlesbrough Union Railway)
Railways came to Whitby early with the opening of the Whitby – Grosmont Railway on 15th May 1835. The line was extended to Pickering as a horse worked line on 26th May 1836 and on 7th July 1845 the Whitby – Pickering Railway was extended to Malton. 

In 1864 a bill was submitted to Parliament for a Scarborough, Whitby and Staithes Railway but this was rejected

On 16th July 1866 the Whitby, Redcar and Middlesbrough Union Railway was incorporated with the intention of linking Whitby to Lofthouse (Loftus) with a line along the coast. The line was intended to branch off the Whitby - Grosmont line 93 yards short of Ruswarp station.  Another short branch was planned here to join the proposed Whitby to Scarborough Railway at Larpool Wood.

Because of a lack of finance it took until 3rd May 1871 for the contract to build the Whitby, Redcar and Middlesbrough Union Railway to be signed. The contractor was John Dickson. Construction of the new railway started on 25th May 1871 when the first sod was cut near Sandsend by the Dowager Marchioness of Normanby.

On 7th July 1873 an Act was passed authorising an amended route with the WRMRU now branching from the Whitby – Grosmont line just outside Whitby Town station. The link to the proposed Scarborough line at Larpool Wood was dropped. By 1874 the construction of the railway had stopped and the contractor had gone into liquidation. Two of the
contractors locomotives which had been taken over by the WRMUR were sold. On 1st July 1875 the North Eastern Railway took a perpetual lease over the WRMUR and employed another contractor, John Waddell of Edinburgh, to complete the line with a completion date of 13th July 1881. The WRMUR Act ratified the arrangement on 19th July 1875 and the NER agreed to complete the line in a substantial and satisfactory manner.

The new contractor found the previous work to be unsatisfactory and in the short period whilst work was suspended part of the cliff route north of Sandsend had collapsed into the sea. The new contractors drove the railway through the headlands rather than go round them. Two tunnels were constructed, Sandsend tunnel (1652 yards) and Kettleness tunnel (308 yards); between them a short stretch of the original course along the cliff edge remains. Five steel tubular viaducts were erected on the line at Upgang (330 ft long, 70 ft high with 6 spans), Newholm Bank (330, 50, 11), East Row (528, 30, 8), Sandsend (268, 63, 8) and Staithes (790, 152, 17). Staithes viaduct was protected by a wind gauge which rang a bell in the signal box when the wind pressure reached 28 lb/sq. ft. At this point traffic over the viaduct was suspended and could only be resumed after the structure had been inspected.

The Whitby – Loftus line was ready for use on 3rd December 1883, 2 1/2 years behind schedule and the first train left Whitby station. The new line served stations at Whitby Town, Whitby West Cliff, Sandsend, Kettleness, Hinderwell, Staithes, Easington (renamed Grinkle in April1904) and Loftus.  The line formed an end on junction with the route of the former Cleveland Railway at Loftus so allowing trains to run through from Whitby to Saltburn using the former Cleveland Railway route and the later  NER connection between Brotton and Saltburn. On 16th July 1885 the Scarborough and Whitby railway opened and joined onto the WRMUR at Prospect Hill Junction so allowing direct trains to run between Scarborough and Saltburn.

The line exploited the camping coach business with coaches being provided at Sandsend (2), Kettleness (2) and East Row (3) between 1933 and 1939. The business was suspended during the war and opened again in 1952.

On 3rd May 1958 the line was closed completely between Whitby (West Cliff) and Loftus and Loftus reverted to becoming a terminus for trains from Teesside until its closure for passengers on 30th May 1960 and goods on 10th August 1963. Whitby (West Cliff) remained open for trains ex Scarborough until 10th June 1961. From this date Scarborough – Whitby trains reversed at Prospect Hill Junction for Whitby Town station.

A new potash mine was opened near to the route of the railway north of Staithes. On 1st April 1974 the line was reopened for mineral traffic from the new Boulby Potash Mine to reach existing rail facilities at Skinningrove and it remains in operation

Sources:

  • Railways around Whitby (Vols. 1 and 2) – Martin Bairstow
  • The Whitby, Redcar and Middlesbrough Union Railway by K. Hoole
  • Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain – Vol. 4 The North East by K. Hoole
  • Railway Memories No 18 – Cleveland and Whitby – Stephen Chapman

Tickets from Michael Stewart, all un attributed photographs received from Neil Cholmondeley

Further reading: Railways Around Whitby Volumes One and Two written and published by Martin Bairstow. ISBN 978-1-871944-34-1

To see other stations on the Saltburn - Whitby line click on the station name: North Skelton, Brotton, Skinningrove, Grinkle, Staithes, Hinderwell, Kettleness, Sandsend & Whitby West Cliff. See also Boosbeck & Guisborough

See also Boulby Mine


Loftus Station looking west in the early 20th century



Loftus Station looking west in the early 1950's


Loftus Station in the 1990's. Although the platforms and most of the station buildings have been demolished, the stationmaster's house remains and the position of the demolished
buildings are clearly visible

The site of Loftus Station looking west in October 2007; only the stationmaster's house survives.
P
hoto by Nick Catford

Kilton Viaduct
Early 20th Century

Kilton Viaduct
c.1912

Undated

c.1950's

c.1950's

April 1958

c.1960's

October 2007

October 2007

October 2007

October 2007

October 2007

Click on thumbnail to enlarge

 

 

 

[Source: Ken Mell]



Last updated: Tuesday, 20-Apr-2010 16:12:04 BST
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