The Working of an Important Northern Junction
AN AERIAL VIEW OF YORK showing the vast extent of the station. Beneath the curved roofs are two of the longest platforms in Great Britain; one is 1,575 ft and the other 1,701 ft in length. There are fourteen platforms in all.
AT one time there were two railway stations in Great Britain which probably offered to the railway enthusiast a greater interest than any others. They were Carlisle and York. No other British stations could show so wide a diversity of “visitors” in a day’s working. Into Carlisle there came the trains of seven companies -
The coaching stock is, however, still diverse. At York it is natural that most of the coaches should bear the varnished teak livery of the LNER. But not all of them do. London, Midland and Scottish trains arrive from Liverpool and Manchester, and, also, by the old Midland main line, from Sheffield, Birmingham, and even from places as far affield as Bristol and Bourne-
Twice a day in each direction, the chocolate and cream colours of the Great Western Railway are seen, one train working to and from Cardiff and Swansea, in South Wales, and the other to and from Oxford and Southampton. And once every day, going south at ten in the morning one day, and returning to York at half-
RADIATING IN ALL DIRECTIONS, lines stretch out from York to other great cities.
The railway importance of York is due to its situation midway along the East Coast main line from London to Edinburgh, 188¼ miles from King’s Cross and 204½ miles from the Waverley Station in the Scottish capital. Before dining-
At no hour of the day or night is the great station at rest. During the day there are lulls in the frequency of the trains; the traffic “peaks” are reached when trains converge from all directions to connect with the principal expresses between London and Scotland. Then the accommodation of the station is taxed to its utmost.
Under the great curved roof, which is the pride of the station, and extending beyond it in both directions, are two of the longest platforms in Great Britain. The main down platform -
Outside the west wall of the station is another through platform -
The first railway to reach York opened in 1830 and was the York and North Midland, which arrived from Normanton, where a junction was made with the North Midland line. To-
At Burton Salmon, seventeen miles south of York, the Normanton line is joined by another route of great importance. It is known as the Swinton and Knottingley joint line; originally built jointly by the North Eastern and Midland Railways, it is now the property of the LNE and LMS Companies. It is the most direct link between York and both the LNE and LMS lines at Sheffield, so connecting north-
Two miles before reaching York, the four-
Immediately beyond this the main station comes into view. Before it is reached, some tracks branch to the left, leading to the great marshalling yards, and providing a “by-
A Fast Stretch
Past and present still rub shoulders on this side of the station. These sidings pass, by means of the Gothic archways which can be seen in the aerial view of the station, underneath the ancient city wall which encircles York. One of the original buildings has been put to an appropriate use. It houses the York Railway Museum. Here the London and North Eastern Railway has concentrated a collection of early locomotives, all with some claim to fame, belonging to various British railways of bygone days. Many other relics are housed here, including a variety of documents and pictures dating back to the earliest railways.
LEAVING YORK. A Scarborough to Leeds express passing through York. During summer, the Scarborough line is one of the busiest; special trains bound for the famous seaside resort converge on York from all parts of Great Britain.
At the north end of the station the main line to Scotland bears sharply round to the west and travels thus for a mile before it curves back to the northwards at the point where it rejoins the freight lines already mentioned. This curve makes a difficult start for heavy express trains out of the platform at York, but once they are clear of Poppleton Junction, just over one and a half miles from the start, they have before them one of the finest “race tracks” in the country. Northwards across the Great Plain of York the line runs for forty-
For many years the forty-
To the left of the sweeping curve out of the north end of York Station lie the locomotive sheds, which house a large number and variety of locomotives. Outside may be seen great “Pacifies”, “Shire”, and “Hunt” class 4-
Branching to the right, out of the north end of the station, there is the main line to Scarborough, which is used in summer by the “Scarborough Flyer”. This train runs only during the height of the season, and then provides the fastest service of the day between London and York; the run of 188.2 miles is made non-
At summer week-
Busier and Busier
In the next few minutes trains arrive from all directions. At 9.18 the 4.45 am train from London, and at 9.20 an express from Sheffield come in from the south almost side by side into No. 14 and one of two bays on the west side of the station. The former has on the rear a through van with mails and newspapers, and the latter a through passenger coach, both bound for Glasgow, which are collected by a small shunting engine and held in readiness at the south end of the station. Twelve minutes later a restaurant car express from Leeds, with a “Shire” 4-
Meantime things have been busier still at the north end. At 9.18 am an express has come in from Sunderland and Stockton for Leeds, with through coaches on the rear for London; this runs through to the south end of No. 4 platform, the London portion, which is drawn back by a shunter to the north end, leaving at 9.27, and the Leeds portion two minutes earlier -
Five minutes before this an express from Newcastle to Bournemouth has run in from the north, continuing to the south end of No. 4 platform, and stopping at 9.36 am. The coaches are London and North Eastern and Southern Railway stock on alternate days. After dropping its York passengers the engine draws the coaches forward, and backs them into one of the bay platforms on the east side, in order to evacuate No. 5 for the Newcastle to King’s Cross express, which is due at 9.51 am, after a forty-
IN THE POLISHING SHOP. Another view of the carriage works at York. Before assembly many sections of the coaches are varnished and polished in this shop.
INSTRUCTING future signalmen in a large signalling school at York. The pupils here are having the principle of signal-
There is now a general exit. From the south end the London express leaves at 9.57 am, running non-
From the north end the Normanton train, with the through coaches from Leeds, gets away for Scarborough at 10 am, and at 10.05 am, simultaneously from No. 14 platform (outside the wall) and one of the bays on the east side, a semi-
From ten o’clock onwards comparative peace descends on the great station, but not for very long. By half-
Soon after midday trains begin to roll in from all directions -
Another temporary lull, and then comes all the activity connected with the “Flying Scotsman” expresses, both northbound and southbound, with which various very important connexions are made. First of all, at 1.10 pm, there arrives a “semi-
Immediately after the start of the “Flying Scotsman” for Newcastle, at 1.36 pm, an important through LMS express from Liverpool to Newcastle draws into No. 14 platform at 1.42, and has a wait till 1.55 before proceeding on its way. About this time things become busier in the southbound direction also. At 1.50 an express from Newcastle, which has run the last thirty miles from Northallerton on a sharp timing of 31 minutes, puts in an appearance, followed, at 2.12, by the up “Flying Scotsman”, which runs through to the south end of No. 4. Following that, again, is another express from Scotland, at 2.23, with through coaches for Oxford and Southampton, and also for Continental passengers proceeding to Harwich. The “Scotsman” has left for London at 2.17 pm; then, in connexion with the 2.23 arrival, connecting trains spread out, “fanwise”, at 2.33 for Leeds, 2.35 for Manchester and Liverpool by the LMS route, 2.35 for Hull from the north end of the station, 3 pm for Sheffield, Oxford and Southampton, and 3.17 -
From 4.30 to 6.30 pm, matters are brisk again, reaching their “peak” when the 1.20 pm express from King’s Cross to Edinburgh arrives from the south, and the corresponding 2.05 pm express from Edinburgh to London from the north. The latter brings on its tail a through coach from Aberdeen to Penzance -
A RAILWAY LAUNDRY. A six-
[From part 12, published 18 April 1935]
“Waverley Station, Edinburgh” on this website.