Stutton Railway Station

The Church Fenton to Spofforth railway line was opened by the York and North Midland Railway on 7th August 1847, and was extended to Harrogate on 22nd July 1848.  Stations on the line were Stutton, Tadcaster, Newton Kyme, Thorp Arch, Wetherby and Spofforth.  In 1854, several railway companies merged to become the North Eastern Railway.

Stutton

Stutton station in the 1950s

The line terminated at Harrogate (Brunswick) and was just a simple branch line connected to the main railway system at Church Fenton.  In 1862  the railways that ran to Harrogate were connected and the present station at Harrogate was opened.  This meant that through trains now used the line.  In 1876, a line from Wetherby to Cross Gates was opened, providing additional routes for trains using the line.

In 1876 Stutton had 10 trains each way stop at the station.  Some were to and from Harrogate and others to Leeds via Wetherby.  Compared to today’s bus service, this was a wonderful level of service.  Figures from 1890 to 1898 give an average annual usage of the line as 5,978 passengers.  That is about 119 per week or 19 per day (assuming no Sunday service).  That was slightly less than one per stopping train.  About 50% of all passengers only travelled as far as Tadcaster.

Railway at Stutton 1966

Brant Lane level crossing at Stutton 1966

In addition to passengers, the station also handled freight and parcels.

In 1905, Stutton station closed due to insufficient use, but freight traffic continued.  Although it closed, it was to handle one more passenger train, an excursion to Scarborough on 20th September 1931, an event so momentous, it made the newspapers.

The passenger service survived on the line until January 1964 but freight continued.  On 29th November 1966, the last freight train ran from Tadcaster to Church Fenton.

Stutton station 1970

Stutton station in 1970 after closure of the line

 

A book entitled “Mortimer’s Turnips, The Stutton Papers 1890-1898” by Ian Mitchell is now available.  It describes in detail the operation of the station at Stutton in the last years of the 19th Century, particularly the despatch of freight from the station.  In those days of poor communications, (there were no telephones), it tells of the difficulties of getting empty freight vehicles sent to carry the goods, mainly agricultural, to distant destinations.  The Mortimer family provided many years of support to the station including Wilson Mortimer who was Station Master for many years.

Stutton station now

Ian’s researches have uncovered correspondence between the station master and distant bureaucracy which gives an interesting picture of life in those days.

 

 

 

The book is available to download free of charge at  https://ner.org.uk/product/mortimers-turnips-the-stutton-papers-1890-to-1898/

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