John Speller's Web Pages Garsdale - Northallerton Railway

John Speller's Web Pages - Midland Railway
Garsdale - Northallerton Railway (MR/NER) MR Horizontal Menu Untitled
This 40-mile through line between Hawes Junction & Garsdale (as the station was known in the 1880s later Hawes Junction and later still Garfield on the Settle & Carlisle line, and Northallerton on the East Coast Main Line, was owned by two different companies the Midland Railway from Garsdale to Hawes, and the North Eastern Railway from Hawes to Northallerton. The North Eastern Railway's line was built piecemeal over a number of decades. It originated in 1847 as part of a grandiose scheme called the Liverpool, Manchester & Newcastle-upon-Tyne Junction Railway, most of which, however, was never built. The first section to open was between Northallerton and Leeming Bar in 1848, this was followed by Leeming Bar to Bedale (1855)and Bedale to Leyburn in 1856. Things then stalled for twenty years, until the line suddenly became more desirable once more as a connection with the newly opened Settle & Carlisle line of the Midland Railway. The Leyburn to Askrigg section opened in 1877, and the final section to was opened from Askrigg to Hawes in 1878, the same year that the Midland Railway completed their Garsdale to Hawes branch. This was the only branch running off the Midland's Settle & Carlisle line.

The line ran through some of the most spectacular countryside in Britain, and tourism was long the mainstay of the line. Most of the trains were run over both companies' lines between Garsdale and Northallerton by the North Eastern Railway. In 1906 there were five passenger trains each way daily. For many years there was a single Midland Railway train each way daily between Hellified and Hawes. This was for some unaccountable reason known as "The Bonnyface."

The North Eastern line from Northallerton to Hawes closed to passenger traffic in April 1954. Goods traffic ceased between Redmire and Hawes in 1964, and the track was subsequently lifted. Goods traffic from Northallerton to Redmire ceased in 1982. Passenger traffic between Garsdale and Hawes was withdrawn on 16 March 1959, followed by goods traffic in April 1964, after which the track was lifted. However, the Wensleydale Railway was formed in 1990 with the object of reopening the line as a Heritage Railway. It has so far succeeded in restoring service over the 16 miles between Leeming Bar and Redmire, and hopes eventually to reopen the remaining 24 miles.
Map of the Midland Railway's Hawes Branch and the North Eastern Railway's connecting line to Northallerton
North Eastern train at Askrigg station in about 1910
In later years much of the line's traffic came from tourists visiting suich attractions as Aysgarth Falls, Bolton Castle and the ruins of Jervaulx Abbey. This poster issued by the LNER in about 1935 extols the virtues of Aysgarth Falls
Crakehall station in 2006. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
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