Friday, 3 July 2009

Railways around Rawcliffe

To break up the monotony of the motorway on my way home I often leave and use local roads. Progress may not be as quick, but it’s much more interesting! On my way home there are A and B roads which parallel the Motorways. There aren’t too many highlights for the railway enthusiast (though if you know where to look - if you're in the vicinity, try and work out where Airmyn station was - not as easy as you may think!) but there is one curiosity…

Rawcliffe is a rather pleasant village just near Goole and Howden on the old main road between Doncaster and Goole and thanks to the motorway isn’t too busy. It has a railway station on the line between Wakefield - Goole line (ELR – WAG1). This is only a shadow of its former self though as this was once the Lanchashire & Yorkshire Railway's main line to Goole Docks.

As you approach the village you come to a slight incline up to a level crossing, nothing usual there at all, but if you look down there’s actually an under bridge with very little headroom. Every time I drive past it I wonder why there is such an arrangement – it does mean cars can continue their journey if the crossing is closed to road traffic. The line is very lightly used so the chances of getting stopped at the crossing are slim during the day – though I did have to stop a while back for a Fastline Tamper heading for Goole. I was puzzled why it would head this way though; route learning perhaps?

If you have time Rawcliffe Station is worth a look if only for the rather nice Station Master’s house, though it’s now in private hands, and the station is little more than a halt now.

It was a comment in a recent e-mail asking if I knew which station could be seen from the M62 where the M18 joins that made me think I should really go and take a couple of photos. By having a close look I noticed things I'd missed previously; like part of the old second line still in situ! Notice also how remaining line has been slewed across as it approaches the bridge. This is often to allow use of the best parts of the formation and to minimise expenditure - the Hull Docks Branch was similarly treated in the late eighties when that was reduced from twin to single line. The surroundings form a great example of the modern, no frills branchline. Worth a look if you have a few minutes to spare.


  1. Was it my e-mail that made you think about it ?!


  2. Brandon,

    It was partly your e-mail! Just enough to make me have a proper look and take a few mintues to get a few photos! Though if you want to look you'd be better off getting a lift than travelling by train ironically; the statioon only has some very early morning and evening services. But you can combine it with visiting other parts of the line; head towards Drax and you'll get a lot more freight thanks to the power station.


  3. Brilliant! My grandparents and great-grandparents used to live in Rawcliffe and my father was brought up there.

    Later, as a young lad, we lived in Carlton and I would bike to Snaith and catch the train to Goole to see my cousin; usual Cl101 DMUs in Blue/Grey or the refurbished livery of Blue on White. Snaith had a very nice station building, but I recall this being demolished in the late 70's early 80's.

    The crossing you show was known as the "Under and Over". I suspect the underbridge was original and the level crossing was added as road traffic increased over the years; this was originally the main road between Goole and Selby, before the A645, along the trackbed of the Goole-Selby Railway, was built in the 1990's.

    You could duck under the bridge if the level crossing was down, but there was always the danger that a car was coming the other way with the same idea!

    My parents still live near Drax Power Station, but I haven't been to Rawcliffe for a number of years; must make the trip sometime.

  4. Airmyn Station was, as you might expect, nowhere near Airmyn. Where the A645 now joins the A614, the Goole-Selby line would pass under the A614 and then curve to approach, but not join, the Goole-Wakefield line near the Dutch River (Aire & Calder Navigation?). The junction was substantially closer to Goole near where the Doncaster line peels off.

    Follow the Goole-Selby line back toward Drax and the Drax Hales station was situated just before the road bends to meet the roundabout. Drax was "famous" when I was younger for having had two stations; Drax Read was on the Hull & Barnsley Railway and a mere 1/2 mile away from Drax Hales. The two lines crossed, but there was no junction. In the early 70's, the CEGB utilised bits of both trackbeds to bring the MGR line from the South Yorkshire coalfields into the newly built Power Station, laying a curve between the H&B and the G&S.

    1. it is nowhere near the "village" of airmyn, but where it was was and is still classed as airmyn. at least two of the farms a stones throw from the station have a airmyn address.


  5. Tony, this is why the net can be so good sometimes!

    It’s good to hear things from those who have personal experience and memories of the places I've been. I'd have liked to have seen the line before it was singled; seeing it now it's hard to believe that this was the L&Y's main route to Goole and the docks there. It is, however, good to see the line being used for heavy freight traffic. There’s a little bit about the line in Stephen Chapman’s book in Bellcode Books Railway Memories series, Selby and Goole. There’s even a photo of ‘Under and Over’ with an 8F bound for Goole just crossing the bridge as well as a track plan showing the original path of Mill Lane and the two extra level crossings! The station would make a good basis for a model; its compact nature would certainly be an advantage for a lot of modellers.

    When I first saw a reference to Airmyn Station I was slightly puzzled as to where that would be; looking at maps if the station was within its namesake then there would have to have been an extra crossing over the Ouse! However when I realised it’s quite easy to see how it fits in with the alignment on the Goole – Selby line. The path of which is easy to follow on either Bing or Google Maps. Like many wayside station the name is more of a gesture than a true indication of its location!

    I’m hoping to be able to explore the lines towards Drax a bit more shortly; the two visits to Rawcliffe are really the result of detours on my way home from our Head Office. I have a feeling my Dad and I may need to spend a day doing that!


  6. Rawcliffe Station Master's house is very nice indeed. It would make a very interesting model, with it's pretentious dormers and doorways. Bloody great! They don't make prototypes like this any more!


  7. The Station House is indeed a lovely building; very bold and confident about the place and status of the railway in society at time. A huge contrast with the state of the rest of the station is in today! Station buildings post steam almost seem apologetic by comparison; perhaps reflecting the way that despite steam having finished on the mainline it was still very much a Victorian system in need of ‘something’.