Sunday, 25 November 2007
No trains today
On Friday I had to go to Pocklington; on the face of it, it did seem strange being sent to a town which hasn't has a railway for over forty years!
Pocklington was once a stop on the York - Beverley railway and I took the opportunity to take a few photos of the station (right); it's something I've meant to do for a long time now, but never really got round to it. It's a fine building which was designed by G T Andrews, who designed many buildings connected with George Hudson's ventures. It's an elegant structure which had an overall roof and it now serves Pocklington School, as a gymnasium. From the outside the only changes are the missing track and platforms and the ends of the roof are now bricked up (left). It still, to me anyway, looks like a station. Those elegant arches still greet travellers in Pocklington, but only those who arrive by bus. Either side you can still clearly see how the line made its way out of the town. It does feel like the line could be easily re-established.
Indeed, if you approach the station of Kiplingcotes (below right), which is further east along the line, from certain directions you could be forgiven for thinking the railway is still there. You can see a station with its singalbox and good's shed still there as well as a larger brick span over the road. It is how many imagine the country way-side station - I would love to model Kiplingcotes one day. It's not hard to imagine, especially on a cold November day, a B1 making its way through station here; working hard as it heads towards the summit just east of Kiplingcotes. However the track is long gone; trains won't be heading this way anytime soon.
The reopening proposal has been made on many occasions by various people. It's not, sadly, something I can see happening though. Despite the argument that the line shouldn't have closed, rebuilding is a much harder task than keeping a line running. The 'Reshaping' report wasn't there to predict what would happen in the future, and it did it do what it set out to quite effectively. However, towns like Pocklington, Market Weighton and Beverley have grown in ways many in the 'sixties would never have believed. If the line did exist today, I have no doubt that many more people would be travelling along it. This, though, is not the case. You can still travel between Beverley and Market Weighton along the line, but it must now be on foot.
As I headed back, over the top at Arras on the A1079, I caught one last glimpse of the line in distance. The road was slow, just 40 mph with lines of cars in either direction. I did wonder if some of these rather miserable looking motorists would be happier travelling quickly along the line in valley below us... Guess we'll never know.