Station Name: THONGS BRIDGE

[Source: Alan Young]


Date opened: 1.7.1850
Location: Between Heys Road and Springwood Road, Thongsbridge
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: Demolished. Houses built on site in 2014-15
County: Yorkshire West Riding (now West Yorkshire)
OS Grid Ref: SE152098
Date of visit:

August 1982, July 2015, February 2016

Notes:This was the only intermediate station on the Holmfirth Branch and it was provided from the opening day in 1850, although the OS plan of 1854 fails to show it.  The name of the village is now rendered as ‘Thongsbridge’, the two-word form, which was always used for the station name, was preferred by the Ordnance Survey until 1967.

When the railway arrived, development at Thongs Bridge consisted of a couple of woollen mills within half-a-mile west of the station, and a scattering of cottages near the mills and to the south of the station along Heys Road.  A rock cutting of substantial proportions was required to enable the railway to pass through a spur of high ground, and the up (north-west) platform was placed within it, north-east of the Heys Road bridge. It was provided with a single-storey stone building with a hipped roof and tall chimneys. A hipped awning with a serrated valance sheltered the platform in front of the building. The long and narrow down platform was on the opposite side of Heys Road, reached by a sleeper-built barrow crossing from the south-west end of the up platform.  The signal box was added in 1880, installed by the Gloucester Wagon Co; it stood just beyond the south-western ramp of the down platform. Goods facilities were located on the up side, facing the down platform.

Up trains: weekdays
February 1863

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.38am

Huddersfield

7.22am

Holmfirth

8.53am

Huddersfield

10.49am

Holmfirth

11.03am

Huddersfield

12.36pm

Holmfirth

1.13pm

Huddersfield

2.50pm

Holmfirth

3.13pm

Huddersfield

4.48pm

Holmfirth

5.03pm

Huddersfield

7.35pm

Holmfirth

7.48pm

Huddersfield

-

-

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

6.58am

Huddersfield

6.47am

Holmfirth

11.13am

Huddersfield

10.33am

Holmfirth

8.13pm

Huddersfield

7.52pm

Holmfirth

All trains in February 1863 call at Thongs Bridge except the 8.25am from Huddersfield which stops only at Berry Brow and Brockholes Junction en route to Holmfirth. The down journey time from Thongs Bridge to Holmfirth is remarkably inconsistent, ranging on weekdays from three minutes for the 7.35pm departure to five minutes for the 2.50 and 4.48pm trains, whilst on Sunday the three trains are advertised as taking three, four and eight minutes respectively.

The layout of the passenger facilities at Thongs Bridge proved unsatisfactory, twice drawing criticism from the Board of Trade following accidents to passengers using the station. Consequently in 1893 the LYR made arrangements with Robert Leake & Co to build a new down platform beyond Heys Road bridge, opposite the up platform, and to widen the gap between the running lines from 5ft 9in to the standard 6ft 0in. Also included in the new works were a new booking office on the up side, -entered from Heys Road overbridge, which gave access both to a diagonally-placed staircase down to the platform - and the iron-lattice footbridge across the two railway tracks to the new down platform. The up platform was heightened as part of the improvements. A rather attractive stone-built open shelter was provided on the new down platform, its hipped roof and hipped awning complementing the structures on the up platform. At the same time the goods facilities were improved, with sidings being added on the down side, behind the signal box. A 3-ton yard crane was installed. Because the goods facilities were now on both sides of the running lines, a cart way was built to link the two sides. The crossing was protected by a lifting barrier, worked from the signal box and interlocked with signals for the running lines. The principal traffic handled in the goods yard was coal and the woollen goods produced in the nearby Thongs Bridge and Albion mills.


Up trains: weekdays
December 1895

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

5.48am

Bradford ¶

5.30am

Holmfirth

6.48am

Bradford ¶

6.24am

Holmfirth

7.40am

Bradford §

7.26am

Holmfirth

8.36am

Bradford ¶

8.11am

Holmfirth

9.33am

Bradford ‡

9.16am

Holmfirth

11.03am

Halifax

10.48am

Holmfirth

12.40pm

Bradford ¶

12.26pm

Holmfirth

2.03pm

Bradford ¶

1.46pm

Holmfirth

3.08pm

Bradford ¶

2.46pm

Holmfirth

4.53pm

Bradford ¶

4.38pm

Holmfirth

6.06pm

Bradford ¶

5.46pm

Holmfirth

7.03pm

Bradford ¶

5.33pm

Holmfirth

7.58pm

Halifax

7.28pm

Holmfirth

9.21pm

Bradford ¶

9.06pm

Holmfirth

9.38pm (Sat only)

Huddersfield

9.21pm (Sat only)

Holmfirth

11.03pm

Bradford ¶

10.46pm

Holmfirth

-

-

11.16pm (Sat only)

Holmfirth

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

9.13am

Bradford ¶

8.59am

Holmfirth

11.00am

Bradford ¶

10.44am

Holmfirth

5.08pm

Bradford ¶

3.11pm

Holmfirth

8.18pm

Bradford ¶

7.56pm

Holmfirth

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

Towards the end of the nineteenth century Thongs Bridge began to develop as a village. An informal pattern of houses appeared, along with a couple of inns, a cricket ground and a size and bone works; this latter establishment undoubtedly emitted noxious smells.

Thongs Bridge station continued to be operated by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway until January 1922 when, in preparation for the ‘Grouping’, that company was absorbed into the London & North Western Railway. In the Grouping of January 1923 the station became part of the London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS).


Up trains: weekdays
July 1922

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

5.38am

Huddersfield

5.56am

Holmfirth

6.13am

Brockholes

6.23am

Holmfirth

6.46am

Huddersfield

7.02am

Holmfirth

7.18am

Huddersfield

8.04am

Holmfirth

8.28am

Huddersfield

9.14am

Holmfirth

9.32am

Huddersfield

10.31am

Holmfirth

10.46am

Huddersfield

12.28pm

Holmfirth

12.53pm

Huddersfield

1.43pm

Holmfirth

1.58pm

Huddersfield

2.51pm

Holmfirth

3.08pm

Huddersfield

4.29pm

Holmfirth

4.45pm

Huddersfield

5.34pm

Holmfirth

5.59pm

Huddersfield

6.13pm (Sat excepted)

Holmfirth

7.03pm

Huddersfield

6.46pm (Sat only)

Holmfirth

8.00pm

Huddersfield

7.44pm

Holmfirth

8.53pm

Huddersfield

8.32pm

Holmfirth

9.23pm (Sat only)

Huddersfield

9.07pm (Sat only)

Holmfirth

-

-

9.42pm

Holmfirth

-

-

10.54pm

Holmfirth

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

9.03am

Huddersfield

10.44am

Holmfirth

11.13am

Huddersfield

7.54pm

Holmfirth

8.23pm

Huddersfield

10.35pm

Holmfirth

In the table above, all trains on the Holmfirth Branch call at Thongs Bridge.
After World War 1 a housing estate was built to the north of the station, within easy walking distance. Although this added considerably to the population within the station’s catchment area, the provision of buses here, as elsewhere, adversely affected bookings at the station. Nevertheless, until the outbreak of World War 2 there was a generous train service. The frequency of trains was reduced as a wartime economy measure, and this included the cessation of Sunday trains, which would not be reinstated in peace time.

At nationalisation in January 1948 Thongs Bridge was placed in British Railways’ London Midland Region, but in April 1950 a major boundary revision transferred the station to the North Eastern Region. The first appearance of the Holmfirth Branch in the BR North Eastern Region timetable was on 25 September 1950 (below) which showed that all trains called at Thongs Bridge.


Up trains: weekdays
September 1950

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

6.40am

Low Moor

7.00am (Sat excepted)

Halifax

7.15am (Sat excepted)

Halifax

8.02am

Huddersfield

8.30am

Huddersfield

12.59pm

Huddersfield

10.35pm

Bradford Exchange

4.27pm

Mirfield

1.36pm

Huddersfield

5.39pm

Bradford Exchange

4.56pm (Sat only)

Leeds City

6.22pm (Sat excepted)

Huddersfield

5.03pm (Sat excepted)

Bradford Exchange

-

-

In summer 1954 the last train of the day to Holmfirth (6.05pm Saturday-excepted from Huddersfield) ceased to call at Thongs Bridge; this call was never to be reinstated. The first departure from Holmfirth (6.37am) no longer called at Thongs Bridge on Saturday. These reductions in service possibly enabled a saving to be made by staffing the station for fewer hours.

By 1956 the booking facilities had returned to the original building on the up platform. This building had been stripped of its awning by this time, but the awning remained in place on the waiting shed on the down platform.

In August 1959 the proposal to close the Holmfirth Branch to passengers was announced. Ironically, only a few months earlier the 450-pupil Holmfirth Secondary Modern school had opened in January 1959 at Thongs Bridge, a couple of minutes’ walk from the station, and by 1961 the school roll was to rise to 1,000. This would undoubtedly have contributed a healthy amount of passenger traffic, but the closure went ahead on 2 November 1959. In the final timetable (summer 1959) up trains called at Thongs Bridge at 7.15am (Saturday excepted), 8.30am, 1.38pm (Saturday only) and 5.07pm. Trains left for Holmfirth at 7.57am, 12.59pm (Saturday only), 4.24pm and 5.43pm. The BR(NE) passenger timetable book effective from 2 November 1959 erroneously showed Thongs Bridge and Holmfirth stations as open, now served by diesel trains!

Gas lighting was retained at the station until closure. Thongs Bridge station was staffed throughout its life, and the station was well maintained. Ironically, one week after the TUCC endorsed the closure proposal, the staff of Thongs Bridge station achieved the distinction of a 2nd Class award and the coveted £4.0s.0d prize (one of 40 to be so honoured) in the BR North Eastern Region Station Gardens Competition.

Goods traffic was handled at Thongs Bridge station until the complete closure of the Holmfirth Branch on 3 May 1965. By September 1964 the passenger station had lost its footbridge, but the station building and elevated former booking hall were still standing. The platforms remained in situ until at least the early 1970s; they had been removed by 1982.

The passenger station site in its deep, rock cutting remained undeveloped until 2015 when Eastwood Homes began building a small estate of 16 units, advertised as ‘The Bridges’. The staff of the former station would no doubt be gratified to know that the estate will be surrounded by ‘landscaped gardens’.

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:
Holmfirth & Brockholes

Thongs Bridge Station Gallery 1: c1890 - February 1958

Thongs Bridge station looking south-west c1890 from the up (Huddersfield-bound) platform. The booking office and waiting rooms are in the stone-built single-storey building in the foreground. The men, some of whom appear to be railway staff, are sheltered by the glazed awning from which two splendid hexagonal gas lanterns are suspended. This photograph pre-dates the improvements to Thongs Bridge station which were authorised in 1893, when the original down platform, with minimal facilities - seen beyond Heys Road overbridge – would be abandoned, with its replacement built opposite the up platform, this side of the bridge. At the same time a new booking hall would be built at the far end of the up platform, a little below the level of Heys Road.
Photo from Jim Lake collection



1854 1: 10,560 OS map. The recently-opened Holmfirth Branch is shown, but at Thongs Bridge there is no evidence of a station although it opened with the line in 1850. The survey was 1848 – 1851.


1893 1: 2,500 OS map. The two platforms at Thongs Bridge station are staggered either side of the Heys Road overbridge. The north-west (up) platform is north-east of the bridge with an approach path leading down from the road. The station building with its awning is shown. The south-east (down) platform is devoid of any structures, but the signal box is just beyond the ramp at its south-western end. Access to this platform is via an unmarked barrow crossing from the south-west end of the up platform. The goods facilities are on the opposite side of the running lines to the down platform, including a small building approached by a track off Miry Lane. One siding, entered from the Holmfirth direction, splits into two at its north-east end, and there is a headshunt at the south-west close to the junction with the running lines. The rock-walled cutting is shown clearly between Heys Road and Springwood Road bridges. Two railway cottages (semidetached) are north-east of the station site, on Springwood Road. Some industrial sites are situated west of the station: a size and bone works (probably highly malodorous); Albion woollen mill; and Thongs Bridge woollen mill.


1906 1: 2,500 OS map. Thongs Bridge station has changed substantially since the map of 1893. The original down (south-east) platform has been abandoned and a new one built on the opposite side of Heys Road to face the up platform. The new platform has a small building with an awning, directly opposite the building on the up platform. A footbridge connects the platforms, and it is connected to a booking hall entered from Heys Road. In the goods yard the original siding has been converted into a loop and a further siding has been added at the north-western boundary of the site.
Click here for a larger version.


1932 1: 2,500 OS map. The passenger facilities appear unchanged since the map of 1906. The goods facilities have expanded, with two additional sidings on the down side, behind the signal box, and entered from the Holmfirth direction. Click here for a larger version.


1966 1: 2,500 OS map.Thongs Bridge station has closed to all traffic by this time, the goods facilities having closed in 1965. The station is no longer named, but the goods sidings are shown and ‘Coal Shutes’ are named. The up platform buildings are in place, but the down platform shelter has gone. Track-lifting is in progress, with the up track removed north-eastwards from the adjacent platform. The name of the settlement is shown as a single word, rather than two. Click here for a larger version.


A ‘tinted’ general view of Thongs Bridge looking south-west from the down platform in the early years of the twentieth century. Until the 1890s the platform arrangement was staggered, with the down platform being on the far side of the road bridge seen here and opposite the goods sidings. The main building, on the up platform, is believed to date from the opening of the station in 1850. Built of sandstone and with a hipped roof it carries a hipped awning with a frilly valance. The elevated building beyond it is the booking hall which was added in the 1890s along with the footbridge and the new down platform and its shelter; this building, with its hipped awning, complements its larger neighbour on the opposite platform. The gas lamp glasses are of a style seldom seen in use after the 1920s
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

A general view of Thongs Bridge looking south-west from the down platform. Until the 1890s the platform arrangement was staggered, with the down platform being on the far side of the road bridge seen here and opposite the goods sidings. The main building, on the up platform, is believed to date from the opening of the station in 1850. Built of sandstone and with a hipped roof it carries a hipped awning with a frilly valance. The elevated building beyond it is the booking hall which was added in the 1890s along with the footbridge and the new down platform and its shelter; this building, with its hipped awning, complements its larger neighbour on the opposite platform. The gas lamp glasses are of a style seldom seen in use after the 1920s.
Photo from RM Casserley & Alan Young collections

Thongs Bridge station in the early years of the twentieth century, looking north-east from the trackbed close to Heys Road bridge. The elevated building on the left is the booking hall, entered from Heys Road. Passengers descended directly to the up (Huddersfield-bound) platform on the left, or crossed via the footbridge to the down platform for Holmfirth. On the up platform is the original station building with its awning; until the new booking hall was built in the 1890s, the booking facilities were in the platform building, as they would again be in the station’s later years. The down platform, with its waiting shelter and awning, was also built in the 1890s, replacing a platform behind the photographer.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

The up (north-west) platform at Thongs Bridge is seen from a passing train on 3 November 1956. In the background are the main building, now shorn of its awning, and the former booking office in its elevated position adjacent to the footbridge. Booking facilities are now provided in the main building on the platform. ‘Sugg’ gas lamps are now seen on the standards. A neat garden extends from the platform to the rock cutting. This station was staffed until it closed.
Photo by J C W Halliday


The waiting shelter on the down platform is seen c1950s. The stone construction, hipped roof and hipped awning with its frilly valance give this shelter dignity, and it complements the design of the larger building on the opposite platform. Whilst its larger neighbour lost its awning by the mid 1950s the awning on the shelter was retained  until the station closed to passengers. Although the structure is open-fronted, the station was in a deep rock cutting which will have afforded some shelter to waiting passengers.
Photo from John Mann collection
On 15 February 1958 the up platform of Thongs Bridge station is seen from a train, with steam from the loco adding atmosphere. Although it has been stripped of its awning the building on the platform still looks cared-for, with clear signage (probably recently painted in BR[NE] tangerine) and pristine posters on the notice boards; it contains the booking office and ‘general room’ as well as ladies’ and gents’ toilets. The former booking hall is at a higher elevation, governing the access to the footbridge to the down platform and adjoining the steps between the road entrance and the up platform; the booking hall has an interesting non-rectangular shape. The original area of goods sidings can be seen beyond Heys Road overbridge.
Photo by J C W Halliday

Click here for Thongs Bridge Station Gallery 2:
October 1958 - February 2016


 

 

 

[Source: Alan Young]




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