• York Rotary

100 years of Railways in York

Frank reports... In the second of our series of talks marking our Centenary year, on May 14th Bob Gwynne, Associate Curator, National Railway Museum gave an informative, very well illustrated high speed journey through railway activities in York over the last 100 years.

His images covered the wide range of prestigious trains serving passengers on the East Coast Main Line starting with the LNER’s Flying Scotsman in 1923 ,The Coronation in 1938, British Rail Deltics in the 1960’s the HST125’s in 1978 and Electric 225’s in 1991 and the current LNER Azuma’s.

Great for trainspotters!

But his presentation also highlighted the range of activities and the huge acres of land needed for historic railway operations in this 1928 photograph of the York central area.

Post 1960 the scrapping of steam engines and their replacement with significantly fewer diesel locomotives made a huge impact on air pollution as this picture of the coaling facility on Leeman Road, demolished in 1971, shows.

Post 1950 dramatic changes were also taking place in the UK industrial sector and in York rail freight operations in the Fosse Islands area at Rowntrees, Electric Power Station, Leemans Flour Mill, Redfearn Glass, York Gas Works and the British Sugar Corporation factory closed with significant loss of jobs but benefits to clean air.

York continues to be an important part of the national rail network and a significant employer in the City. The railway legacy is undoubtedly the release for productive use of land previously necessary for historic activities. This has already happened at Layerthorpe , Fosse Island and Dringhouses.

The jewel in the crown is York Central and work on the infrastructure for this exciting project has now started. The ultimate aim – a mixed development of 2500 houses, Offices, Hotels and an extended National Railway Museum . All on land originally purchased and used by the North Eastern Railway Company which was created in 1853 with headquarters in York.

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