Friday, 10 September 2010

To York And Back

I went to York for the first PWI meeting of the autumn last night and one thing really struck as I drove home.

The A1079 is now littered with speed cameras and long limits well below the national speed limit - I believe for 'safety' reason though if it's busy you'd do well get near the lower limit yet when it's quite it is so frustrating not being able to get anywhere near sixty on such a wide main road. As such, if I'm on my own I often leave the main road and head home on the more minor roads where I can easily follow the route of the former Beverley - York line. With the low limits on the main road, this little diversion doesn't actually much to your journey time at all!

It may seem odd to have followed the line like this so many times but it still holds my interest and so many times I notice a little remnant which I'd missed previosuly; it may only be a disused gatepost but it's another little piece of evidence that this line once existed.

One thing which struck me as I drove home was how perfect the railway would have been for my journeys last night. I could have walked to village station (assuming it could have reopened as it closed in 1959!) and caught a direct train to York, not sat in traffic in the centre of York for twenty-five minutes and very easily walked to the meeting! On the way back a short walk after the meeting to the station and then back on a late train and then a stroll from the station to our house. I could even have met a friend for a drink afterwards, I could have had a couple of pints too as I wouldn't be driving! Would be fantastic, wouldn't it?

Will it ever happen? Well, we've looked at this before but there have been a few interesting references published recently. The Minsters' Rail Campaign's website has some interesting items in its news section.

If you look at the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's website for their Local Development Framework and browse the Allocations Development Plan Document section a number of the schedules mention "Site within potential area identified for proposed Beverley to York railway line" and various maps "Potential route for Hull to York railway".

So a statement of intent? A pipe dream? Or a naive idea by people who don't really understand the true cost? Well I hope I'm way of the mark on the latter. But who knows? One thing I do think is that spending money which may go on HS2 would probably be of more economic benefit to many areas if it was spent on reopening or upgrading lines which could really benefit communities.

Maybe I'm idealistic - recent events have seen me really reassesing what I think and fell is important and questioning many things and drawing new conclusions. Idealism might not be achievable but even if you wish to make a practical and workable solution I think the idealistic starting may still help one reach the best solution. So maybe one day we will see the York - Beverley line's "potential route" realised?


  1. I think re-opening that line is the only sensible way of coping with the proliferation of new housing along the York-Hull road, with places like Pocklington and surrounding villages continuing to expand. When I worked at the NRM, we lived between Wilberfoss and Fangfoss - near Fangfoss station - and the line would have been perfect for many commuters. Instead I used to dice with death and cycle along the deadly A1079!

  2. I have to say you're a braver man than I am to cycle along there! It's nice to have a comment from someone who also suffered the A1079!

    I think it was one mistake in Beeching's first report to propose the line for closure although I think the railway at the time needed some shake up of somekind. My father worked for BR at the time and took part in the passenger number surveys on various lines controlled by Hull, not that they knew what they were for. I think Beeching succeeded in his brief to reduce costs but as the report was based on a snapshot it didn't take into account the CTC scheme then about to start which was a real shame as the line would, I suspect, have become the template for many other cross country lines for operational practices. Especially now seeing the huge growth shown by towns such as Beverley, Pocklington and Stamford Bridge it seems like a wasted oppotunity. I also wonder if the towns may have seen expansion sooned had the rail link remained - but who's to know?

    I don't think a full dual carriage way for the A1079 would be the answer either really, although this has been suggested in some reports I believe. And despite being a fan of fast and powerful cars, I certainly don't think that crawling in slow traffic is any fun at all! As such I wonder if a new, for example, out of town station at Stamford Bridge which a decent sized car park for a park and ride service might be a popular option.

    I'm never sure if the line will reopen. I'd love to see it as I see it as a huge asset although one of my places of solitude would disappear forever if it reopened! But I do think the investment in the line would make a better long term investment than a similar amount spent of the A1079.