Station Name: EBBERSTON

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 1.5.1882
Location: West side of Allerston Lane (B1415) south of its junction with Malton Lane.
Company on opening: North Eastern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 5.6.1950
Date closed completely: 5.6.1950
Company on closing: British Railways (North Eastern Region)
Present state: The station has been restored to its 1930's state. The platform and station buildings are in excellent condition. The coal drops with an incline ramp, cattle dock, weigh office and weighbridge are all extant. The station signs are reproduction in LNER style. An original NER sign was found covering a drain but it is in very poor condition in two parts with a section missing.
County: Yorkshire
OS Grid Ref: SE879819
Date of visit: 7.9.2008

Notes: The station was originally called Wilton and was renamed to Ebberston on 1st April 1903 although the station was actually actually closer to Allerston, Wilton being one mile to the west and Ebberston one mile to the east. The station was built so far from Allerston village centre due to the major landowner not wanting the railway to be built.

The small goods yard was on the down side of the line behind the station and had two sidings, one with a loop, serving coal drops and a cattle dock. There was a weigh office just inside the entrance to the yard and although plans show a number of other small buildings there doesn't appear to have been a goods shed.

During LNER days, the station master at Thornton Dale was in charge of Ebberston. The track was lifted in 1953 and in 1955 the station building was sold to a Mr Craggs but the last Station Master, Mr Bouch, continued to live there with his family until 1960.

The premises were then let to a farming contractor until 1966 when the contractor himself purchased the premises from Mr Craggs. A corrugated iron barn was built across the cattle dock and west end of the platform and a grain drier was built to the west of the barn. Part of the station building was used to store agricultural machinery with two windows being replaced by a large garage door. A variety of enterprises used the coal cells area after closure, which were roofed over and enclosed; including a blacksmith, a small engineering firm and even boat builder.

The present owners Mark & Carol Benson bought the station from the farming contractor in 1996 intending to run a holiday business from the station and restoration started in 1997. The barn was sold to a farmer from Staintondale. He dismantled the entire structure and cladding himself, transporting the lot to Staintondale, some 20 miles distant, in several trips
with a tractor and trailer. Ebberston is the best preserved of the stations on the Forge Valley line. Although all the Forge Valley stations buildings and platforms survive, at Ebberston, the coal drops with an inclined ramp, cattle dock and weigh office complete with weighbridge are all extant.

The chocolate brown and deep cream now seen on the station joinery are colours that were never actually used at Ebberston when operational. However, these are the mid 1930’s LNER colours that probably would have been applied, had the war and nationalisation not intervened. The station has been restored in the style of the 1930's and a number of railway relics from the period can be seen on the platform and in the station yard. There are two reproductions station signs one at the east end of the platform and the other on the front of the station building. A short section of track has been re laid at the west end of the station and three new camping coaches sit on the track; they all ex BR Mk2 first class corridor stock, built at Derby in1968-9.

It should be stressed that the station is not a museum, it is a holiday business and the owners do not welcome people walking around the site without permission.

The Vale of Pickering (incorporating Ryedale) has always been subject to flooding due to the flat terrain so when railways finally reached the area they kept close to the edges. One of the last to be built was the east - west line from Seamer to Pickering which is usually known as the Forge Valley Railway although it doesn't actually follow the north - south Forge Valley cutting across the southern end of it at West Ayton.

There was an earlier proposal in 1864 for a line from Pickering running east along the north side of the Vale of Pickering as far as West Ayton where it would turn north along the Forge Valley to a junction with the proposed Scarborough - Whitby line at Scalby. Because the Scarborough - Whitby line was not built at this time, the Forge Valley line was not proceeded
with.Work on the coast line finally started in 1872 and the Scarborough & Whitby company minutes on 4th November record a proposal to build the line along the Forge Valley from Ayton as a feeder for the Whitby line. The proposal was approved by the board at an estimated cost of £35,000. A Bill was put before parliament in 1873 but was later withdrawn following objections from Lord Londesborough who owned part od the proposed route.

Following the withdrawal of the Bill the North Eastern Railway were quick to step in promoting their own line from Pickering but instead of running up the Forge Valley this line would continue eastwards to join the Scarborough - Malton/Bridlington line at Seamer three miles miles south of Scarborough. Having received their Act the North Eastern Railway were in no hurry to build the line which eventually opened to the public on 1st May 1882.

Intermediate stations were built at Forge Valley (serving East and West Ayton), Wykeham, Sawdon, Snainton, Ebberston (Wilton until 1903) and Thornton Dale. Trains ran between Pickering and Scarborough, also calling at Seamer which had opened with former York and North Midland route to Scarborough in 1845. The line retained the earlier name of the The Forge Valley Line, it was single track throughout with a passing place at Snainton, the only station with two
platforms running for 1614 miles from Seamer Junction to Mill Lane Junction south of Pickering where it joined the NER's lines from Rillington and Bishophouse Junction on the York - Darlington main line .Services were four weekday trains each way; there was never a Sunday service and few excursions except for some to and from Helmsley. In 1928 the line became the first in the area with a regular Sentinel steam railcar service for passengers introduced by the LNER in an attempt to keep costs down. Railcars were considered suitable for this line as passenger traffic was light and there were no steep gradients. The Sentinels were mechanically unreliable and struggled to cope with attachments such as horseboxes, commonly required on rural lines. All the stations except Wykeham had facilities to deal with livestock, and such agricultural produce comprised most of the freight on the line, although there was also stone from a quarry at Thornton Dale.

During 1935, the first diesel-electric Sentinel Railcar, the 'Tyneside Venturer', operated a circular route via Scarborough, Whitby, Goathland and back to Scarborough along the Forge Valley line. Despite their unreliability the railcars remained in use for 20 years but were gradually taken out of service on the approach to nationalisation

In June 1933 the LNER introduced camping coaches at a number of scenic stations in the area, two of these eventually came to the Forge Valley line with a single carriage being provided at Forge Valley and Thornton Dale.

Passenger traffic on the Forge Valley line had always been light and by 1922 the service remained at 4 daily trains with an additional train on Thursday and three additional trains between Scarborough and Forge Valley. With the introduction of the steam railcars the service was increased to seven daily trains but after nationalisation it was clear that the service was no longer viable with the ever increasing popularity of the motor car post war. After only 68 years British Railways announced closure of the line to both passenger and freight traffic; despite some
local objections the line was closed from 5th June 1950; the last train out of Scarborough was at 6.40 pm on Saturday 3rd June where a small crowd gathered with over 100 local people boarding the last train which was greeted by detonators at each station.

The track between Seamer and Thornton Dale was lifted between 1952 and 1953. The final three miles of the line between Thornton Dale and Pickering remained open until 10th August 1964 to serve the stone quarry.

All the stations on the Forge Valley line were of similar construction with substantial brick buildings which incorporated the stationmaster's house. All the station buildings and platforms survive and that at Ebberston which was restored in 1998 with a short section of track and three new camping coaches, ex BR 1st class stock built in 1968/9.

See also the Forge Valley Railway web site for a more detailed history of the line and more photographs and also The Old Station Allerston web site.

Sources: Lost Railways of North & East Yorkshire by Gordon Suggitt - Countryside books 2005 ISBN 1 85306 918 3 and the Forge Valley Railway web site. Tickets from Michael Stewart. Additional information from Mark Benson.

Suggested further reading: The Forge Valley Line by J. Robin Lidster Hendon Publishing 1986
ISBN-10: 086067103.

To see other stations on the Forge Valley Railway click on the station name: Seamer, Forge Valley, Wykeham, Sawdon, Snainton & Thornton Dale

See alto other local lines: Malton & Driffield Junction Railway, Thirsk & Malton Railway (Malton - Pilmoor) & Gilling - Pickering

Ebberston Station looking west before July 1906
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Ebberston Station looking east in the early 20th century
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection
Ebberston Station looking west in 1950, shortly after closure
Photo from 'The Old Station, Allerston' web site

Ebberston Station in a derelict state in April 1976. At this time the station was used as a farm
hoto by Alan Young

Ebberston Station looking west in June 1992
hoto by Ben Brooksbank

Ebberston Station looking west in June 1998 a year after restoration started.
hoto by Martin Potter

Ebberston Station looking in September 2008
hoto by Nick Catford

Click here for more pictures of Ebberston Station




[Source: Nick Catford]

Last updated: Thursday, 18-May-2017 11:14:41 CEST
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