Friday, 5 April 2013

Wetherby Railway Station and Railway Line

Wetherby Race Course Railway Station
Wetherby Race Course Railway Station

Old and new photos of Wetherby Railway Station and Wetherby Race Course Railway Station


The railway line through Wetherby was one of the first lines to go following the 1963 Beeching report The Reshaping of British Railways.

The photo to the left shows the little known Wetherby Racecourse Railway Station - how things have changed! See larger image below - and what the same place looks like today.

We also show photos of the main railway station in Wetherby, together with modern day views of the same places.

The next photo shows a steam locomotive just leaving Wetherby Railway Station and heading north. It may be going to Harrogate or through Wetherby and around past Wetherby Racecourse (where there was another Station - see below) and on to Tadcaster.


Wetherby Railway Station

The photo seems to have been taken from the Spofforth Hill road bridge (now the main A661 to Harrogate) over the railway line.

Wetherby Railway Station
Wetherby Railway Station
Here is a modern day view:-
 
Where Wetherby Railway Station used to be
Where Wetherby Railway Station used to be!
This is the same view in modern times.  The station disused and demolished, all the railway tracks have been removed and the routes are now cycle tracks in, around and through Wetherby.

Here is Wetherby Station from the other end looking back to the Spofforth Hill bridge.
 
Steam Engine in Wetherby Railway Station
Wetherby Station

Wetherby Railway Station is now a wasteland/carpark
Wetherby Railway Station is now a wasteland/car park
Although the tracks and disused station buildings have gone, the old station platforms are supposedly still there and they have just filled in between with rubble and soil.  Apparently, you can still see the platforms if it has rained hard and washed some of the surface away!

Another view of the old railway station -

Wetherby Railway Station platforms
Steam Engine in Wetherby Railway Station

Where has the Steam Engine gone?

Wetherby Railway Lines

Here is a satellite view of Wetherby showing the old railway lines in blue.  The red dot at the left is where the main Wetherby station used to be and the red dot at the right is where Wetherby Racecourse Railway Station was.  It too is disused and no longer there.

Railway lines through Wetherby
Wetherby Railway System

Walking/Cycling from Wetherby Railway Station



You can only get a few yards south west (the line that went to Leeds) from the old station because the path of the railway lines is really overgrown and leads straight into someone's back garden!

This next photo is taken from the Linton Road bridge looking north over the whole area where the railway station was. The Spofforth Hill bridge is in the distance beyond the area where the car is seen.
Wetherby Railway Station from Linton Road bridge
Looking back over Wetherby Railway Station from Linton Road bridge
If you look south (towards Leeds) from Linton Road bridge you can see where the railway line used to be, running through what is now someone's garden, and disappearing between the trees in the distance.
Path of the railway line towards Leeds (from Linton Road Bridge)
Where the railway line used to run towards Leeds (from Linton Road Bridge)
However, travelling north, you can get a long way along the cycle paths and you have a choice of routes - north-west through Spofforth towards Harrogate - or north-east then curving around to south-east, past the Racecourse, through Tadcaster and down to Church Fenton.

The first two photos of Wetherby Station (above) were taken looking south from the Spofforth Hill road bridge and if you look off the other side of the bridge you can see the junction of the two lines below:


Wetherby Railway Junction
Wetherby Railway Junction - just before the Station
The line going off to the left goes to Harrogate, the one going right goes to Church Fenton. This bridge carrying the main Wetherby to Harrogate road (the A661) looks a bit dodgy from the railway tracks below!

Spofforth Hill Bridge - carrying the A661
Spofforth Hill Bridge - carrying the A661
If you follow the line going towards Church Fenton, it curves aroound Wetherby but you can only get as far as the B6164 as there used to be a bridge taking the railway line across this road and beyond.  There was also a bridge taking the line over the main road from Wetherby to York but this bridge is also gone.

However, you can pick up the route just over the A1... the part of the line that used to run along the south edge of Wetherby Racecourse.  What remains now is a tarmac cycle path but there are some relics of the old Race Course station...

Wetherby Race Course Railway Station

Here is Wetherby Racecourse Station as it used to be:-  
Wetherby Racecourse Railway Station
Wetherby Racecourse Railway Station
Here is a modern photo from exactly the same spot!
 
Site of Wetherby Racecourse Railway Station
Site of Wetherby Racecourse Railway Station

This too is a tarmac cycle path, but imagine great steam trains here, perhaps race-day specials, delivering racegoers from Leeds and Harrogate...

This old map shows the location of the disused railway station at Wetherby Racecourse.

Old map of Wetherby showing location of the Racecourse Railway Station
Old map of Wetherby showing location of the Racecourse Railway Station
Modern day satellite image showing the same location

Location of the old Wetherby Race Course Railway Station
Location of the old Wetherby Race Course Railway Station 
This location is now an almost disused dirt track BMX/mountain bike track.

Site of Wetherby Racecourse Railway Station - now a bike track
Site of Wetherby Racecourse Railway Station - now a bike track
What did this place used to look like - does anyone have any old photographs of Wetherby Racecourse Railway Station?
Bike track, where Race Course Station used to be
Bike track, where Race Course Station used to be
Just adjacent to the bike track (over the railway lines, if they were still there) you can see the remains of a brick built wall and foundations.  I think this will be all that is left of one of the buildings seen to the right of the railway tracks in the old Racecourse Station photo above.

Remains of Racecourse Station Buildings
Remains of Station Buildings

Update Jan 2015 - Wetherby to Church Fenton Line

Following the high winds of January 2015 a tree has been blown over onto the tracks of the Wetherby to Church Fenton Line, just past the Racecourse Station.
All trains now terminate at the Racecourse Railway Station!

Wetherby to Church Fenton Line blocked by fallen tree!
Wetherby to Church Fenton Line blocked by fallen tree
All trains now terminate at the Racecourse Station!
All trains terminate at the Racecourse Station due to the line being blocked by a fallen tree

Once you have passed Wetherby Racecourse, the (now) cycle path becomes poorer and less well used but you are still following the path of the Wetherby to Church Fenton line.

There are some interesting bridges.  This one, seems to just carry a disused track - maybe a way for the local farmer to get livestock across the railway line:-
Bridge 15 on the Wetherby to Church Fenton line
Bridge 15 on the Wetherby to Church Fenton line
Bridge 15 - in memory of Doug Rawson
The Plaque under Bridge 15
Looking towards Wetherby through bridge 15
Looking towards Wetherby through bridge 15
As you walk further, the tarmac path fades away into a dirt/mud path but we get to see more interesting remains of the old railway system. Look at the retaining walls on the embankment either side of the tracks...
Thorpe Arch Railway Bridge
Thorpe Arch Railway Bridge
Again, this bridge seems to only carry a disused track (presumably for livestock crossing), leading away from Thorp Arch estate.  This bridge is bridge 14...
Plaque under Thorpe Arch Railway Bridge
Plaque under Thorpe Arch Railway Bridge

Thorp Arch Railway Station


Just a bit further down the track, there was a railway station at Thorp Arch.  This railway station still stands and has been converted into an amazing private house - even the platforms are still there and form part of the landscaping.  I would love to get photographs of this lovely house.

There is also an engine shed:-
Engine Shed just before Thorpe Arch Railway Station
Engine Shed just before Thorp Arch Railway Station


The journey to the Thorp Arch Viaduct continues soon...

APPEAL

Please let me know if you have any old photos of any part of the Wetherby railway system that you would allow me to feature on this blog...

15 comments:

  1. The "engine shed" above appears to be the goods shed where miscellaneous boxes, sacks, parcels, etc. would be loaded and unloaded. Thorp Arch was merely a wayside station and would never have had its own engine shed, being served by trains to and from larger centres.

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  2. Dave - thank you for your post and correction of my terminology. I only use the term "engine shed" loosely. I assume an engine shed is rather bigger and used to "park up", and perhaps work on, stock that is not being used? In any event, it looks like a really well preserved building into which trains could go - "goods shed"... I'm happy with that. Thank you :-)

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  3. Lovely post and fotos old bridge, greeting from Belgium

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  4. there are some more nice pictures of wethery railway station on leodis website. these pictures are great, & i remember wetherby station closing, & watched everything get torn down. we played in the derelict buildings for years after.

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  5. does anyone know the name of the A4 locomotive at wetherby station

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  6. Hi there, brilliant blog I must say! The first image of wetherby station the train is heading towards spoffoth ( points are set that way) and indeed, if you walk from the steel bridge towards the station, looking closely at the ground on the right hand side, you can clearly see the platform edge ( cattle dock) . Also near the road entrance nearly in line with the lights, you can see the foundation of the ticket pedestal and runner for the sliding door ( both cast iron). The A4 that I'm aware of is 60032 - Gannett. Re: Racecourse station... lamp posts and the concrete posts holding the nameboard still remain opposite the now current bmx track - the concrete plinth situated at the top of the mound there was the concrete foundation to the wooden building in the old image. The station being made out of sleepers and ash, buildings were 'placed' atop. Again, if you venture in to the shrubbery or into the adjacent field, you can still sfhjee the back end of the platform wherenit was concreted for stability. The bricks photographed are the foundations of the footbridge. At thorp arch therwas no shed as such, but locomotives, coaching stock and wagons were stored in the expansive sidings for the munitions factory ( RoF Thorp arch itself had a large internal network fed from this line). The factory of which had its own single locoshed as depicted on ordinance maps of the site. Hope this clears a few things up and answers a few questions. SD

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    1. Stephen - many thanks for your information... I will have to revisit the stations and have another look...
      If the remains of the lamp posts and the concrete posts holding the sign are still there, opposite the BMX track, that must mean that the old photo of the Racecourse Railway Station is actually looking TOWARDS Wetherby? So the main station buildings are on the right? I had assumed it was looking towards Thorp Arch. This means that my photo "from the same spot" is the wrong way round :-)
      Do you have any more information because this is fascinating. Mike

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    2. Hi mike, upon further inspection and recollection, I may be mistaken on two points made previous... firstly the cattle dock platform is not on the right hand side, its on the left, on the right there is/was the post holding the totem ( station sign ) which could be made out through the brambles. There are also the remains of the wetherby name board at to the top of the access path off the road leading to spoforth ( metal bridge). Secondly, somewhat puzzlingly is the brick remains at racecourse... further inspection places the footbridge on the wetherby end of the platform; where the remains are is on the Thorp arch end. Pondering for a while the only thing I can think of as to what they were is the foundation of the signal box type building as can be seen from this image courtesy of Google images. http://s269.photobucket.com/user/currantbun_bucket/media/A10/A10-225_zps1c8cb772.jpg.html . Having only just seen this picture, its fascinating to see what actually remains! As the weather is nice, I may stroll around to the sites and take a few snaps. Hope this helps a little :-D .

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    3. Well... I've been back to the Racecourse Station for another look...

      I more or less crawled through all the bushes on both sides and can find no trace of the three concrete posts that would have held that sign. I would dearly love to find them!

      Looking at the old black and white photo again - it MUST be looking towards Wetherby? There is a bridge in the distance: obviously the A1 was in a different place in those days but there must have been some bridge there at that time. So - if the photo is looking towards Wetherby, am I right in assuming that the main station buildings were on the right? There appears to be an angled wooden fence, perhaps funnelling passengers onto the path (Racecourse side) that led them down towards the racecourse buildings?

      The brick remains are exactly opposite the BMX track so they could be what remains of that little building (waiting room?) seen just to the left of the footbridge? I would go with that rather than the signal box building seen in that other photo you refer to. That seems to be further along, towards Thorp Arch?

      I need to go back... I have GOT to find those three concrete posts...!

      Going to go back to the main Wetherby Station too, to have another look for the platforms etc that you referred to. Hunting ghosts... :-)

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    4. Only a year and seven months since I last posted...Apologies! Walked down from thorp arch today and took plenty snaps of Racecourse. I've uploaded these to the disused railways of Yorkshire Facebook group (hopefully you can access this). Taken pics of the lamp post that remains on the platform, where I think the nameboard posts were and of that big concrete abutment in the picture from my last comment. I will try upload these pics to somewhere where I can share them on here!

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    5. Good to have you back... where are those photos... I need to see them :-)

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    6. Hopefully if you go to the following link it will bring you to the 'disused railways of Yorkshire' group where I've uploaded them. If not, will try alternate means.
      https://m.facebook.com/groups/1647352755494595?message_id=1703876409842229&ref=m_notif&notif_t=like&actorid=1128543819

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  7. The A4 at wetherby station is 600032 Gannet

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  8. Well done Dave a cracking piece of work. I am a newcomer to Wetherby only been here since 1970...and have walked the railways loads of times.One puzzle that I have still to resolve is details of a signal box in the V of the lines coming from Spofforth, one line to the station and one line on the church Fenton.A work colleague told me years ago he was a lad working in that box. The Signalman had an annoying habit of disappearing just before the train from Spofforth came into view... and he had to make the choice of which way he was to send it....Station or church Fenton. Don't panic indeed! It was in the country side then, none of the present houses were there so a picture probably has never been taken

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