Station Name: NEWTON KYME

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 10 August 1847
Location: South side of the Wetherby road (A659)
Company on opening: York & North Midland Railway
Date closed to passengers: 6 January 1964
Date closed completely: 6 July 1964
Company on closing: British Railways (North Eastern Region)
Present state:

The station building is extant and in private occupation. The building is largely unaltered. Part of the up platform is also extant, although it has been substantially rebuilt and is probably little more that the original infill with a new surface and new facing.

County: Yorkshire
OS Grid Ref: SE454446
Date of visit: 7 September 2010

Notes: Newton Kyme was a small country station serving the tiny community of Newton Kyme and isolated houses and farms. In 1911 the catchment area of the station had a population of 591.

The station opened as Newton and was renamed Newton Kyme in August 1850. It had two facing platforms on the south-east side of the level crossing on the Wetherby road. The main station building, designed by G T Andrews, was on the up platform and comprised an L-shaped two-storey stationmaster's house with a pitched slate roof and elaborately carved barge boards, typical of Andrews’ work, even for such a small wayside station. One gable-end faced onto the platform and included a bay window on the lower floor. This was the stationmaster's office, and the window allowed him to look both ways along the platform. The other gable-end faced north-west along the platform and included a door onto the platform. The other two faces of the building had single-storey extensions which included the booking office and waiting room. A second floor was later added to the wing at the front of the building. On the down platform was an open-fronted waiting shelter that backed onto a timber goods shed.

A signal box north-west side of the crossing, on the up side, controlled the crossing and access to the goods yard. The main part of the yard was behind the down platform. This comprised a single siding accessed from the down line to the north of the station; it passed a short cattle dock before running through a timber goods shed with a pitched slate roof. There was a yard crane with a capacity of 1 ton 10 cwt. A second siding off a short loop with another dock north of the level crossing, also on the down side, passed over coal drops.

In 1911 8,972 tickets were sold, and the main freight handled was barley, with 159 tons being dispatched with 95 wagons of livestock being loaded at the station. The 1956 handbook of stations states that the yard now only had a one ton capacity crane and handled general goods, livestock, horse boxes and prize cattle vans.

In 1911 8,972 tickets were sold, and the main freight handled was barley, with 159 tons being dispatched; in addition 95 wagons of livestock were loaded at the station. The 1956 Handbook of Stations states that the yard now had only a one-ton capacity crane and handled general goods, livestock, horse boxes and prize cattle vans.

Newton Kyme closed to passengers on 6 January 1964 but remained open for goods traffic for a further six months, until 6 July 1964. The track around Newton Kyme was lifted in September 1966. In 2013 the property was for sale with an asking price of £525,000.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CHURCH FENTON - HARROGATE RAILWAY & THE CROSS GATES TO WETHERBY RAILWAY
Notes: Harrogate was known as 'The English Spa' in the Georgian era, after its mineral-rich waters were discovered in the sixteenth century. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the chalybeate waters (containing iron) were a popular health treatment, and the influx of wealthy, but sickly, visitors contributed significantly to the wealth of the town.

With the country in the grip of 'railway mania' in the 1840s Harrogate was an obvious target for railway entrepreneurs who were eager to cash in on the town’s popularity, with its wealthy clientele able to pay high fares.  In Harrogate local townsfolk and businesses initially opposed the railway, fearing that an influx of people from Leeds and Bradford would lower the tone of the area; but this opposition was overcome. It was going to be a race to see who would be first to reach the town.
 
The Great North of England Railway (GNER) made the first proposal. Having opened their main line between York and Darlington in 1841 they proposed a branch from Pilmoor, 16 miles north of York, to Harrogate via Boroughbridge and Ripon.

The York & North Midland Railway (Y&NMR) opened in 1839, connecting York with the Leeds & Selby Railway and, in 1840, with the North Midland Railway at Normanton near Leeds. The line was largely financed by ‘Railway King’ George Hudson who invested a substantial inheritance in the North Midland, becoming a director. He then took an active part in the promotion of the route and commissioned George Stephenson to construct the line. Having completed the York line, George Hudson then turned his attention to Harrogate, proposing a branch to the town from a junction with the Y & NM at Church Fenton, ten miles south of York.

The final player was the Leeds & Thirsk Railway (L &TR) who had an ambitious scheme for a new main line linking the industrial regions around Leeds with the north-east. George Hudson had an interest in this scheme as well.

George Hudson was clearly keen to increase the size of his empire, and by 1845 he had taken a lease on the GNER, and he immediately withdrew the Pilmoor - Harrogate proposal to leave the way clear for the two other routes.

The Y&NMR obtained their Act for the Church Fenton - Harrogate line in 1845, and the eighteen-mile route was staked out in September of that year. It was opened in two stages, with the first 13-mile section between Church Fenton and a temporary terminus at Spofforth opening on 10 August 1847. There were intermediate stations at Stutton, Tadcaster, Newton Kyme, Thorp Arch and Wetherby, with passengers being conveyed the last five miles into Harrogate by horse-drawn omnibus. The only engineering feature of note was a two-span iron girder bridge over the River Wharfe between Newton Kyme and Thorp Arch.

The shorter five-mile section between Spofforth and Harrogate took a further year to complete owing to much more difficult terrain, with a gradient of 1 in 36 taking the line up to the unusually narrow 825yd Prospect Tunnel in which trains were not permitted to pass; then 300yd from the tunnel portal, the line crossed the 624yd, 31-arch, Crimple Viaduct which towered 110ft above the valley floor at its highest point.  Beyond the viaduct the line went through the 400yd Brunswick Tunnel before entering the terminus at Harrogate Brunswick. (This was the official name of the station, although in timetables it was shown only as Harrogate). The extension to Harrogate opened, without prior announcement or ceremony, on 20 July 1848. 

The initial service was five trains per day in each direction with no trains on Sunday. Within two years this had been reduced to three trains each day, probably owing to the opening of the Leeds & Thirsk Railway just five weeks later on 1 September 1848; their station was 1¾ miles to the east at Starbeck.  When completed in July 1849, this line provided a more direct route to Leeds without the need to change at Church Fenton.  The L&TR had planned to extend their line into Harrogate, but this had to be shelved because of the higher than expected cost of completing their line between Leeds and Starbeck.

In an attempt to prevent competitors from encroaching on its territory, a direct Leeds to York railway was promoted by George Hudson through the Y&NMR. The construction of the line was authorised in 1846 and was to run from Copmanthorpe on the outskirts of York to Cross Gates, several miles east of Leeds, joining the Church Fenton to Harrogate line between Tadcaster and Stutton.

In 1849 George Hudson was forced to resign as chairman of the York & North Midland Railway following his involvement in dubious business activities. The collapse of railway investment in 1849 resulted in the abandonment of the project, but a ten-arch stone viaduct over the River Wharfe at Tadcaster had already been constructed. The need for the line evaporated with the opening of the Micklethorpe to Church Fenton line in 1869 although the viaduct did eventually see rail traffic in the form of a siding serving a flour mill on the east side of the river. The siding closed in 1955. The viaduct is Grade II listed and is owned by Tadcaster Town Council; it now carries a public footpath and cycleway.

The L&TR was renamed the Leeds Northern Railway in 1851, and it was joined by the East and West Yorkshire Junction Railway from York at Knaresborough, east of Harrogate. In 1854 the York & North Midland Railway amalgamated with the Leeds Northern Railway and the York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway to form the North Eastern Railway (NER) which brought control of all the railways in the region under one company.  The fledgling NER was quick to improve the railway layout around Harrogate.

The NER built a spur from the former L&TR line at Pannal to join the Y & NMR line west of Prospect Tunnel. Just short of Brunswick Tunnel another new line was built to join the line from Starbeck enabling trains to run into a new central station which opened on 1 August 1862. Brunswick station was closed; initially it was retained for goods traffic, but this was short-lived.  By 1880 the service between Harrogate and Church Fenton was restored to five trains per day. 

The North Eastern Railway soon had plans for other new lines in the region. One of the most ambitious was for a direct route between Leeds and Scarborough by-passing York.  For much of its route it would utilise existing lines, but it included new construction from Cross Gates to a junction with the Church Fenton - Harrogate line at Wetherby. On 5 May 1866 The York Herald reported that the Leeds - Wetherby Railway Bill had been put before the Select Committee of the House of Commons for a single line to run from the Leeds and Selby branch, near Cross Gates, to the Church Fenton and Harrogate Branch at Wetherby - a length of 10 miles 66 chains. New capital to be raised was £210,000, with borrowing power of £70,000. The work was to be completed in five years, under penalty. Tenders for the project were invited in November 1871 and seven firms responded with bids.

The Leeds to Scarborough line was eventually abandoned owing to the economic downturn, although some sections were completed including the Cross Gates - Wetherby line which opened on 1 May 1876 with intermediate stations at Scholes, Thorner, Bardsey and Collingham Bridge.  The junction at Wetherby faced Church Fenton so it was not possible to run trains into Harrogate. This was rectified in 1901 when the line was doubled and a new curve facing Harrogate was built at Wetherby.

Cross Gates - Harrogate now became an important alternative route to the L&TR which was used increasingly by goods traffic and by the recently introduced Liverpool to Newcastle passenger expresses, which we now able to avoid a reversal at Leeds. As this route by-passed Wetherby station, which was sited to the east of the town, a new Wetherby station opened on 1 July 1902 at the south end of the new triangular junction, with the old station being retained for goods.

In 1902 the Great Northern Railway started running express services from Kings Cross to Harrogate via the Church Fenton to Harrogate line, with three daily trains in each direction. These continued after the grouping in 1923 and included the prestigious 'Harrogate Pullman'.  Although the Cross Gates to Harrogate line was always considered the major route, the August 1906 timetable shows a good service on both lines with a mixture of stopping and express services. Express trains from London over the Church Fenton - Wetherby line had stopped running by 1947. 

Wetherby racecourse opened in 1891, and an untimetabed station was opened c1924 to serve it.  This was last used on 18 May 1959, but racecourse specials continued to run to Wetherby station from Bradford Exchange on race days until 1963. A new station called Penda's Way, between Scholes and Cross Gates, was opened on 5 June 1939 to serve the growing residential development in that area.

In March 1940, additional traffic came to the Church Fenton to Wetherby line when a Royal Ordnance Factory was opened at Thorp Arch just to the north of the station. It was constructed for the Ministry of Supply and built on a 450 acre site. It took 18 months to build and cost £5.9 million. Thorp Arch was considered to be an ideal site, away from the large centres of population, possessing a reliable water supply, good rail links and proximity to the A1 trunk road. Workers were brought in from Leeds, Selby, York and all surrounding areas. 10,000 people, mainly women, were employed there at the height of production, and it is believed to have had 619 buildings. In World War II it produced light and medium gun ammunition, heavy ammunition, mines and trench mortar ammunition for the Army; medium and large bombs for the RAF; and 20mm and other small arms ammunition for all three services.

It was linked to the London & North Eastern Railway, which was used in its construction, for supplying raw materials and for transporting away filled munitions. The factory was served by a 6½-mile single-track circular railway with four platforms for munitions workers: these were named River, Ranges, Roman Road and Walton. Special workmen's trains ran from Leeds and Bradford Exchange and from as far afield as Hull and Doncaster on Monday to Saturday calling at the four halts. The last passenger traffic was in 1957 when the five unadvertised trains were withdrawn.

ROF Thorpe Arch closed twice: once after World War II and then finally after the Korean War in April 1958. Once production had halted, the site was gradually de-contaminated. In the early 1960s George Moore, a local businessman, bought most of the site and the development of the area as a trading estate began. The estate was later owned by Thorp Arch Limited Partnership, but is now known as Thorp Arch Estate and is owned by the trustees of Hanover Property Unit Trust. It comprises an area of over 100 businesses, including the Thorp Arch Retail Park. The most notable addition to the estate is the Northern Reading Room, Northern Listening Service and Document Supply Centre of the British Library, occupying what was the locomotive shed and engineering department. Another part is a prison, originally HMP Thorp Arch, now HMP Wealstun.

Whereas the route between Cross Gates and Harrogate maintained a reasonably frequent weekday service the train frequency via Tadcaster was drastically reduced after WWII. The winter 1937-8 LNER timetable showed 7 trains from Church Fenton to Leeds via Tadcaster on Monday to Friday in each direction, whilst there were twice as many between Leeds, Wetherby and Harrogate. No trains ran on Sunday. The first British Railways (North Eastern Region) timetable of summer 1948 had only three Monday-Friday trains via Tadcaster, but five on Saturday.  In summer 1950 only three trains to Leeds and two to Church Fenton were shown. By 1961 there was only one local morning train between Church Fenton and Leeds via Wetherby, and another, also in the morning, from Leeds to Tadcaster, which ran only as far as Thorp Arch on Saturday. No passenger service was shown from Tadcaster to Church Fenton. By 1963 only the 7.44 am departure from Church Fenton to Leeds was shown in the public timetable, the train actually having run from Leeds via Garforth. It is likely that its principal role was to carry parcels. In 1961 there were four trains between Harrogate and Leeds in each direction, with two additional trains between Wetherby and Leeds and one in the opposite direction. Long distance traffic between Leeds and Newcastle had continued to use the line, but this ended with the completion of the quadrupling of the East Coast main line in 1959. The earlier twenty freight trains between Harrogate and Wetherby (in each direction) had fallen to five by 1960.

In 1961 the recently introduced diesel service between Liverpool and Newcastle was switched from the Arthington route bringing new traffic to the Wetherby line. Although this route was slower it avoided a reversal at Leeds.  This renewed importance could not however save the lines. At the time of the Beeching enquiry, there was a maximum of eight passengers on the one train a day between Church Fenton and Leeds via Wetherby, with no regular passengers. There were a few more passengers on the Leeds to Wetherby route but competition from an improving bus service
eventually made passenger numbers unsustainable despite the increase in the number of commuters living in Wetherby. Stations had received minimal investment since Nationalisation, amounting to little more than painting the nameboards in BR(NE) tangerine and installing totem name signs at Wetherby.

Given that all stations were manned, together with sixteen signal boxes and three manually
operated level crossings (requiring 35 staff in total), and the number of steep gradients requiring the use of banking engines, it is of little surprise that it was considered uneconomical. At Wetherby station alone, 14 staff were employed attending to the needs of only 30 passengers per day. The economics of the Wetherby lines were, in fact, worse than the cautionary examples given in Beeching's report. It had a yearly operating cost of £57,000 compared to receipts of £9,000, though some argue that the Wetherby to Leeds route could have been made profitable with some adjustments. Local freight now consisted largely of house coal, the use of which was declining.

A notable headline at the time read 'First lamb to the Beeching slaughter', cheerfully further stating 'No regular passengers object at inquiry’, which was the case, but only for the Wetherby - Church Fenton line. It was also inaccurate in that the Newcastle – Washington service, earmarked by Beeching, had closed the previous September!  A decision was reached on 24 October 1963, the inquiry having taken just three months, with both lines closing to passengers from  6 January 1964. The original Wetherby station remained open for goods traffic until 4 April 1966.  The only section of the original route to remain open is the short section of line from the Crimple Viaduct (where the spur from Pannal joined the Church Fenton route to the junction with the line to the former Brunswick terminus. This section is used today by the frequent Leeds – Harrogate – Knaresborough – York services. A new station called Hornbeam Park opened just south of this junction on 24 August 1992.

In the late 1960s, it was evident that Wetherby was going to grow. In 1965 it was estimated that by 1981 the town's population would double to 12,000 and this estimate proved quite accurate.
There were ambitious plans to relieve growing congestion through the town centre and on the A58 and A661 by converting the disused railways into relief roads. These suggestions never came to fruition. In Railways around Harrogate, Volume 3 (1998) Martin Bairstow presents a compelling case, headed ‘A lost commuter route?’ for the restoration of passenger services between Leeds and Wetherby. He also remarks that the dieselisation of the service in January 1959 could have increased the use of the trains, but without improved frequency of trains that some neighbouring lines enjoyed, there was really no incentive to use them.

The track was lifted in 1966. Some parts of the former railway tracks between Wetherby and Leeds have been used for housing development at Bardsey and Collingham Bridge. Sustrans National Cycle Network routes 66 and 67 use some of the remaining trackbed. This line is walkable from Cross Gates to a point south of Collingham where a landowner refuses access to a short section of the line. At Scholes muddy conditions are encountered, but this soon gives way to a grassy embankment with lots of sandstone bridges in situ. The most impressive stretch is just north of Thorner where the line passes through a very deep, narrow cutting with the Seacroft road soaring above on a high brick bridge. At Collingham the road bridge must be used to cross the Wharfe, but from the north bank a footpath follows the embankment, sandwiched between a golf course and the river, into Wetherby. A public footpath and cycleway follows the trackbed from the A1 (M) to Thorp Arch station and from Wetherby to Stofforth - this section of the path is known as Harland Way.

Click here to see Church Fenton to Harrogate gradients.

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

Thanks to Martin Bairstow (author/publisher), Peter Tuffrey (author) and the Wetherby Historical Trust who supplied many of the photos used in this feature.

Sources:

To see other stations on the Harrogate - Church Fenton line
click on the station name:
Harrogate Brunswick, Hornbeam Park, Crimple, Spofforth, Wetherby (1st site), Wetherby Racecourse, Thorp Arch,Tadcaster,
Stutton & Church Fenton
See also River Platform, Ranges Platform, Roman Road Platform &
Walton Platform on the ROF Thorp Arch Militery Railway.
Special feature: Royal Ordnance Factory 8 - Thorp Arch

To see stations on the Cross Gates - Wetherby line click on the station name: Cross Gates, Penda's Way, Scholes, Thorner, Bardsey, Collingham Bridge and Wetherby (2nd site)


Newton Kyme was a typical G T Andrews wayside station with an attractive stone building and a lot of attention paid to fine detail. This posed view c1905 shows the stationmaster and his staff on, or in front of, the up platform. This view show the station building in its original state before a second floor was added to the wing at the rear.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection



1909 1:2,500 OS map shows the general layout of the goods yard, which remained largely unaltered. The main yard is behind the down platform where one siding is seen running past a cattle dock and then through the goods shed. A weighbridge is shown, although not identified, to the left of the dock. The coal depot is on the other side of the Wetherby road and comprises a short loop from which a single siding runs over coal drops.
Newton Kyme station looking north-west from the down platform c1930s. The timber goods shed on the left is also the back wall of the open-fronted waiting shelter on the down platform. The signal box on the far side of the crossing controls the crossing and the two station sidings, one either side of the Wetherby road. The bay window overlooking the platform allows the stationmaster to look in both directions from his office, but on this occasion he is standing on the platform.
Photo from Peter Tuffrey collection

The same view in 1959 shows that little has changed apart from the station signs which have been replaced with smaller BR signs. The poster boards have disappeared from the station building; the station was now in its last years with no excursions to advertise. A newly painted white line is seen along the platform edge.
Copyright photo from Stations UK

One year after the line was dieselised the 7.44 Church Fenton to Leeds DMU awaits departure after two passengers have disembarked. A number of wagons are seen on the goods siding to the right. Compare this view with with the 1905 view above. A second storey has been added to the
wing facing on to the road.
Photo by PR Booth from John Mann collection


The RCTS ‘East Midlander No. 5’ railtour passes through Newton Kyme station on 13 May 1962, double-headed by Southern Region 'Schools’ Class 30925 'Cheltenham' and 40646, an ex- LMS 2P built in 1931 to a design by Henry Fowler at Crewe Works. It entered service in September of that year and lasted until withdrawal from 21B, Bescot shed, a few days after this picture was taken and was scrapped in September of that year. 30925 was built in 1935 at Eastleigh Works to Maunsell's 'Schools' design, entering Southern Railway service in the April as No 925. It passed to BR and was renumbered 30925 then withdrawn in December of 1962, but happily was preserved as part of the National Collection. Two other 'Schools' locos are preserved: 925 ‘Repton’ and 928 ‘Stowe’. Next stop is
Wetherby, then on to Harrogate.
Photo by PR Booth

Looking south-east from the level crossing towards Newton Kyme station in April 1964, three months after closure to passenger traffic and three months before closure to goods traffic.
Photo by John Firth

Looking north-west from Newton Kyme level crossing in April 1964. Signal arms have been removed and the down line is now the single line with the up out of use and rusty. Goods facilities at Newton Kyme were sited on both sides of the crossing. The goods shed (seen above) was behind the down platform but the coal depot was on the north side of the crossing, The embankment supporting the coal drops is seen on the left and in the distance a goods dock can just be made out.
Click here to see an enlargment.
Photo by John Firth

The track at Newton Kyme was lifted in September 1966. This view is looking south-east from the down platform in 1969. The waiting shelter, and presumably the goods shed as well, have been demolished.
Photo by Mike Mitchell

By July 1972 nature is beginning to take over, as seen in this view looking north-west.
Photo by John Mann

Newton Kyme station looking south east in April 1976 shortly after the down platform and most of the up platform had been removed. The double garage on the left had been added
in the previous three months.
Photo by Alan Young

Newton Kyme station looking south-east in September 2010. A section of platform appears still to be in place but, as can be seen from the picture above, it has been substantially rebuilt.
Photo by Nick Catford

Newton Kyme station in 2012.
Photo from estate agents web site



 

 

 

[Source: Nick Catford]


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