Station Name: WYKEHAM

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 1.5.1882
Location: At the end of a private approach road off A170
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 is now an estate office for the Dawney estate with living accommodation for a caretaker. The weigh office survives to the east of the station at a lower level. It is on the St. Helens Caravan and Camping Park (part of the Dawney Estate) and there are plans to restore and reuse the building.
County: Yorkshire
OS Grid Ref: SE966835
Date of visit: 7.9.2008

Notes: Wykeham was the only station on the line not adjacent to a level crossing and was the only station not to be provided with facilities for handling livestock of any kind.

The goods yard was on the up side of the line to the east of the station with a single siding serving coal drops that were sited behind the platform. The goods yard had a two ton crane for the handling of timber from the Dawnay estate on which Wykeham station stood; empty wagons were supplied by the railway for the timber. The crane could only reach two wagons so a pilot engine from Scarborough was used to shunt the trucks ready for the Malton Goods to pick up.

The station is still part of the Dawnay Estate which is owned by the 12th Viscount Downe, who lives at Wykeham Abbey. The station is used as an estate office and living accommodation for a caretaker.

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 were of similar construction with substantial brick buildings incorporating the stationmaster's house. All the 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.

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

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, Sawdon, Snainton, Ebberston & Thornton Dale

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

Wykeham Station in the early 20th century

Wykeham Station looking east in May 1952 shortly after track lifting
Photo from Alan Brown collection

Wykeham Station entrance in April 1976. The weighbridge office is seen in the foreground
Photo by Alan Young

Wykeham Station looking west in September 2008
hoto by Nick Catford

Wykeham Station looking west in September 2008
hoto by Nick Catford




[Source: Nick Catford]

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