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Boom in rail travel to the coast leads to closure of minor stations on the line
Typical LNER railway poster from the 1920/30's promoting Scarborough as a glamorous seaside destination
Many people think that Castle Howard Station was closed due to the Beeching cuts during the 1960s, but in actual fact it closed to passengers on 22 September 1930.
The main reason for the closure was because of the boom in passenger travel to the coast. Scarborough is often credited as being the first modern ‘seaside resort’. It attracted enormous numbers of holidaymakers, and railway posters of the time show Scarborough as a very glamorous destination – pictures of smart, young, attractive folk, enjoying their days in the sun.
It was very popular with factory workers from the northern cities of Sheffield, Bradford and Leeds who were so keen to get a week away in the summer that they joined holiday clubs and would put 6d (2.5p) away a week in order to pay for their summer holiday.
Lancashire had Blackpool, Yorkshire had Scarborough and in the early days of tourism there was little reason to seek destinations outside the norm. However, the rail system had developed to the point that people were increasing looking further afield for places to spend their summer week’s holiday.
It was becoming more and more important that the rail links to the coast operated as efficiently as they could, to cope with the increasing demand, and stations like Castle Howard were not seen as providing sufficient passenger traffic turnover to justify their retention. And so it was decided that 12 stations should close on the line, leaving just two intermediate stations between York and Scarborough.
Although the company feared they would lose revenue by closing the smaller stations, when they did their sums, they could see that the cost savings alone justified the closures – and added revenue from a greater number of express trains would improve revenue further.
It was really a very simple sum:
Lighting and Fuel
Station Repairs and Painting
Estimated Gross Saving
Estimated Loss of Revenue
Net Annual Saving
And so the company set into motion a plan of changes that would bring to an end Castle Howard Station and its place as an important asset to the local area. Although, strictly speaking, that wasn’t the end of all passenger traffic at the station, the Howard family retained the right to stop any passing train, even an express, until shortly before the Second World War.
Although the passenger station was closed, the small goods yard on the down side, west of the station remained in operation for goods traffic until 2 November 1959, when it, too, became excess to requirements. And finally, in 1961, at the beginning of the Beeching era that would see vicious further cuts to the railway system, the platforms were removed at Castle Howard and its use was definitively ended.