Station Name: POTTO

[Source: Ken Mell]

Date opened: 3.3.1857
Location: About one kilometre north of the village of Potto on both sides of Station Lane just north of the junction with Goulton Lane. The eastbound platform and the extant station buildings are on the east side of Station Lane with the degraded westbound platform on the west side.
Company on opening: North Yorkshire and Cleveland Railway
Date closed to passengers: 14.6.1954
Date closed completely: 1.12.1958
Company on closing: British Railways (North Eastern Region)
Present state: The station house is a private residence. Part of the Battersby bound platform remains alongside the house. Across the road there is some evidence of the Picton bound platform though it is now largely overgrown. The station yard that was once quite extensive for railway purposes is now a transport yard operated by Prestons of Potto. Prestons have preserved the railway yard crane and weigh office. A cattle dock can also be seen close to the road and adjacent to the station. The track bed that once formed the two mile mineral branch to Whorlton Mine can be seen to the right of the Faceby/Stokesley road past the eastern boundary of Prestons yard and is marked by a curved hedgerow. Great care should be taken in this area, as there are many heavy vehicle movements along the road.  
County: North Yorkshire
OS Grid Ref: NZ472046
Date of visit: 8th February 2009

Notes: Potto Station opened with the Picton - Battersby line opened on 3rd March 1857. The station had two staggered platforms, the eastbound platform with the majority of the station buildings was on the east side of the level crossing with the westbound platform on the opposite side of the crossing.

The goods yard was opposite the eastbound platform and was accessed from the branch line to the Ailesbury mines and from the westbound line. It comprised two sidings serving a cattle dock and a third siding and a loop serving coal drops. there was also a weighbridge and office and a 5 ton crane which is still extant.

Initially the only buildings were the stationmaster's house behind the eastbound platform adjacent to the level crossing and a small timber signalbox at the end of the platform. New brick buildings were added, probably in the 1890's with a new booking office on the eastbound platform and a waiting room on the westbound platform.

After closure to passenger traffic in 1954, the station remained open for goods traffic until 1st December 1958.

Potto Station was sold by British Railways shortly after the track was lifted in April 1961 and the present owners Mike and Sue Whitlock have a web site about the station including a history of the line and Potto station and a gallery of old pictures.

The Picton and Battersby line was part of the Esk Valley route. This was a branch of the Leeds Northern Railway that connected Northallerton and Stockton. The Esk Valley route connected Picton and Grosmont where it joined with the Malton to Whitby line, now maintained and operated by the North York Moors railway as far as Pickering. The section from Battersby to Grosmont is currently used by Middlesbrough – Whitby trains, and occasional steam workings to and from the North York Moors Railway.

The Leeds Northern Railway and the West Hartlepool and Harbour Railway jointly promoted the Esk Valley route with the prospect of exploiting traffic in the movement of ironstone from the mines that were developing in the area.

The line was authorised as the North Yorkshire and Cleveland Railway in 1854. The first section between Picton and Stokesley was opened on 3rd March 1857. A two-mile mineral-only branch between Swainby and Potto became operational on the same day and this was used to transfer output from the Ailesbury mine, near Swainby, which also started production on this
day. The line was soon producing two trainloads each day for onward working to the iron making facilities in Stockton.

The section between Stokesley and Ingleby was opened on 1st February 1858 and this was further extended to Ingleby Junction (now Battersby) on 6th April 1858, where it joined with the private narrow gauge line from the Ingleby Manor mine, and then continued as far as Kildale.

On 31st July 1854 the Leeds Northern Railway became a constituent company of the amalgamation forming the North Eastern Railway. The North Eastern Railway took over full control of the North Yorkshire and Cleveland Railway in 1859.  The North Yorkshire and Cleveland Railway had planned a branch from Ingleby Junction to ironstone mines at West Rosedale and had agreed to upgrade the narrow gauge railway as part of the route. The North Eastern Railway took over the project and completed the line for its opening on 27th March 1861. This included a double track rope operated incline 1430 yards long.

The Kildale to Castleton section opened. On 1st April 1861 with Commondale and Castleton stations coming into use. An ironstone mine was opened at Commondale in 1863 and local blast furnaces were planned. However the poor quality of stone made winning it unviable, so the plans were not realised and closure was inevitable.

In 1864 a goods only branch was opened from Battersby to join the Middlesbrough and Guisborough line at Nunthorpe Junction. This allowed trains from the Rosedale branch a shorter route to the iron making facilities in Teesside and Co Durham. A further branch was opened to the Rosedale East mines from a moorland junction at Blakey on 18th August 1865 and and traffic from the Rosedale mines by 1870 amounted to 1000 – 1500 tons of ironstone each day, which made night working necessary. A spur to allow direct running from the Grosmont direction to Nunthorpe avoiding reversal at Ingleby Junction was approved but never built. Although primarily for freight traffic, local residents were allowed to travel on goods trains with 'stations' at Incline Top, Blakey Junction & West Rosedale. All passenger carriage stopped with the closure of the tramway on 13th June 1929

The Esk Valley line was completed between Castleton and Grosmont and was brought into use on 2nd October 1865 along with the intermediate stations of Danby, Lealhome, Glaisdale and Egton so joining up with the existing Whitby and Pickering railway and providing a through route between Stockton and Whitby.

A number of mines opened in the Kildale area between 1865 and 1872 but each had a very short working life. All had been abandoned by 1876.

On 1st April 1868 Great Ayton station opened on the link between Nunthorpe and Ingleby Junction, and a passenger service was started between Middlesbrough and Ingleby Junction. In 1878 Ingleby Junction was renamed Battersby Junction and in 1893 it was condensed to Battersby.

Ailesbury Mines were closed in 1887 and following abandonment of the mines the Swainby branch closed in 1892. The course of the line can be discerned to the south east of Potto station and an embankment can be clearly seen near the village of Swainby alongside the A172 road .

Passenger traffic was not heavy although the annual show at Stokesley could bring up to twelve excursion trains and a good volume of livestock. In 1910 it is recorded that a service of five passenger trains daily ran between Whitby and Stockton in each direction. Except for the first morning train from Whitby they all travelled to Stockton via Picton. The exception reversed at Battersby and ran to Stockton by way of Nunthorpe and Middlesbrough. Passengers for Picton were provided with a connecting

train from Battersby.

Following subsidence of Kilton Viaduct between Whitby and Loftus the structure was closed to traffic between 1911 and 1913 and the viaduct was buried to form a new embankment. During these works ironstone traffic from the Loftus area mines was routed to Teesside by way of Whitby, Grosmont and the Esk Valley line.

By 1926 the ironstone business at Rosedale had dwindled to one train per day and closure of the mines took place. However the waste from the calcining process was found to have value and this waste was transported off the moor. Closure and abandonment of the Rosedale branch followed in June1929. This left the Esk Valley route with only a limited passenger and local goods service.
On 23rd July 1930 the line was closed by the collapse of a stone bridge over the River Esk near Glaisdale. It remained closed until 25th May 1931 whilst a replacement girder bridge was installed using the existing abutments. Three months later the replacement bridge fell into the river following the collapse of one of the abutments. A new pier was constructed in the middle of the river to provide for two spans. The existing girder was raised to form one of the spans and a second girder was used to complete the crossing. The line reopened once more on 27th August 1932.

Picton to Battersby was double track and following decline of the ironstone traffic and limited passenger business such facility was not necessary. In the early 1940s track use between Ingleby and Picton was rationalised and the line was operated as a single line between these places. All traffic west of Ingleby used the eastbound line only which was regulated by the staff and ticket system.  The westbound line remained in situ and was used for wagon storage between Picton and Trenholme Bar until 1971. There was a trailing crossover for west bound trains at Ingleby which was inconvenient since it required west bound trains to pass over this crossover, then set back onto the other track before continuing the journey towards Picton on the “wrong line”. It has been said that wagons that had been in storage for many years were difficult to remove before the track could be dismantled. The process of removal took many months.

In 1950 there were five trains using the Esk Valley line in each direction. The 6.45 am and 5.50 pm ex Whitby trains ran through to Stockton via Picton with a connection at Battersby Junction for Middlesbrough. The other three trains from Whitby reversed at Battersby and ran through to Middlesbrough. In the other direction three trains worked directly from
Stockton to Whitby and two trains worked from Middlesbrough to Whitby via Battersby. There was a fourth train from Stockton to Battersby allowing a connection with one of the through Middlesbrough to Whitby trains.

The passenger service was withdrawn west of Battersby on 12th June 1954 but all stations except Ingleby remained open for freight traffic. The track between Stokesley and Picton was lifted in the early 1960's. All trains to and from Teesside worked by way of Nunthorpe with trains from the Grosmont direction reversing at Battersby. Introduction of DMUs in May 1958 made operation at Battersby considerably easier. Closure of the coast route in 1958 between Whitby and Loftus resulted in an increased passenger working along the Esk Valley route with up to 15 daily workings in each direction.

Picton closed to passenger traffic on 2nd January 1960 and Stokesley and Ingleby were completely closed on 31st July 1965.

Other web sites: Railways through Ingleby and Potto Station. Tickets from Michael Stewart, un attributed photographs received from Neil Cholmondley


To see other stations on the Picton - Battersby line click on the station name:
Picton, Trenholme Bar, Sexhow, Stokesley, Ingleby & Battersby. See also Rosedale mines and railway

Potto Station in 1860 Compare this with the 1906 picture below. No other buildings appear on the platform at this date indicating that the booking office was in the station house.
Photo from Potto Station web site

Potto Station in c.1906

Potto Station looking east in c.1950's
Photo by J F Sedgwick

Approaching Potto Station in September 1958
Photo from Alan Young collection

Potto Station in 1959, a year after total closure of the line
Photo from Potto Station web site

Potto Station looking east in April 1961 during track lifting. The goods dock and shed are seen on the right. A demolition traikn is seen in the distance.
Photo by Alan Brown

Potto Station looking east in May 1961 just after the track was lifted.
Photo by Alan Brown

Potto Station in May 1974
Copyright photo by Nigel Mundy

Potto Station in february 1990. Note the goods dock in the foreground.
hoto by Martin Potter

Potto Station looking east
hoto by Ken Mell

click here for more pictures of Potto Station




[Source: Ken Mell]

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