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Herbert Hartley

Newspaper Article (Publication and date unknown but estimated around 1950)

HerbertHartley1On June 7, 1850, the Queen, accompanied by Prince Albert, while on her way North for the formal opening of Newcastle Central Station and Royal Border Bridge, Berwick, broke the journey to spend two days at Castle Howard.

Mr. Herbert Hartley, of near-by Barton Hill, a railwayman for 44 years, who was employed at Castle Howard station from 1918 to 1933, has a drawing of the scene which shows an ornate coach hauled by a museum-piece engine drawn up in the station with a guard of honour standing to attention on the narrow platform.

They were rich days for railways, and they were when Mr. Hartley was one of a staff of six at the station.

“We had a coaching house and stalls for four horses when I was there.” he said. “I have counted as many as 48 horses and carts in the station yard; you rarely see one there now. Farmers brought hay, grain and potatoes for despatch, and collected fertilisers, feeding stuffs and household commodities. They were busy days. Passenger trains served the villages of Ganthorpe, Welburn, Bulmer, Terrington and Coneysthorpe. Hundreds of visitors came at weekends, and, of course, there was a weekly market train. At holiday times we used to order a ‘special’ from York. There were 12 trains a day then.

Prize Garden

“The station gardens were beautiful with a fishpond and a fountain. In 1926 we won a prize for the best kept station garden in the region.” said Mr. Hartley. “But by that time motor transport was beginning to have a disastrous effect and in 1933 the passenger side of the station was suspended.”

The station was deserted when I visited it yesterday. The prize winning garden had disappeared under grass and weed, the fountain was broken, the fishpond filled with muddy water and weed. There was only one man on duty to deal with the parcels brought in from the surrounding villages. The waiting room has been adapted to make a dwelling, and buildings on the other platform have become quarters for campers. Only two trains a day stop there now, mainly to collect and deliver parcels.

Protest by Council

But the farmers and villagers in the district are not going to lose their station willingly. Malton Rural District Council is to protest to the Railway Executive, and many farmers support the view of Mr. George Howard, of Castle Howard who told me he did not like the way the Executive was closing down stations.

“The station is built on land bought from the Howard estate, and deeds and conveyances are being examined to see if there are any clauses touching on the question of closing it.” Mr. Howard said.