Branch Line Britain - celebrating Britain's minor railways

Eastern - Scarborough review 1

2/10/08 Hull to Scarborough

Cost of ticket £18.00 (East Yorkshire Round Robin)

Dept Hull:  15.20 (to Bridlington)   Arrive Bridlington: 16.02

Dept Bridlington: 16.45   Arrive: Scarborough: 17.35

Journey time: 1 hour 35 mins

Distance:  53 miles    Weather:  Sunny

Train type: 2-car class 158 DMU (158784) (single track after Bridlington)

Railway company: Northern trains

Frequency of trains - one every hour to hour and a half

Hull Paragon is still a grand station with six arches, four of them containing its seven platforms. We pass the signal box on our left and then move onto the Scarborough line track, running parallel with the Leeds line for about ½ a mile. We then move right and northwards, passing the Hull City stadium on our left and are joined by a curve line. We then move in a northerly direction out of Hull. There are lots of houses on the left and several factories on the right. The track curves quite sharply and then we speed up to about 60 mph. We pass a park on our right, and more houses on our left. We are soon out into the countryside. It's mainly rough pasture with horses grazing on our left, and some ponds on our right. We slow down as new housing appears and we go over a level crossing and come into Cottingham station. The original station buildings are still there on both sides but they're both boarded up with turquoise coloured boards. It still has a pleasant cast iron footbridge in place though. We pass several greenhouses on the right and a sub power station on left. Then we go under the A1079. The land is very flat round here and much of it has been ploughed up. We speed up to about 50 mph before slowing again as we come to a stop at Beverley station. Many people get off here, but very few get on. It is an unusual station with a large canopy over the two platforms. There are high red brick walls on both sides. There is a train for Sheffield on the opposite platform from Scarborough. Beverley  as a town is quite built up and it's a couple of minutes before we are clear.  We move eastwards now towards the coast. It is flat farming land again and there is a forest of Christmas trees growing on the left. We pass Arram station, which has a nice station house on the left. The line is not welded here and we are going about 50 mph, so it seems quite bumpy. There are some sheep on the right and it's starting to get a little less flat as we approach the East Yorkshire Wolds.  We pass houses on the left, then whiz through Hutton Cranswick station which has two platforms. You can see the start of the Wolds in the distance and near to the track it is still mainly ploughed fields. On the right is an old mill converted into flats. We then arrive at Driffield station. It is very nicely painted in cream with blue edgings. A few Yards out of the station on the left is the remains of an old platform, possibly the goods platform. We pass more trees on the left, and then it starts to get hilly. I notice a hare running across a field on my left.  We then pass Nafferton station at about 50 mph. The track isn't welded here and it's quite bumpy. There is a small wood on the right at first and then it spreads to both sides. Then there are wheat fields on both sides with wheat rolled into round bales. We pass the remains of an old station on the left at Lowthorpe, followed by another one at Burton Agnes. There are several level crossings that we go over before a large factory comes into view on the right with lots of cars and some white vans parked in rows. We cross under the main A614 York to Bridlington road and then start seeing houses on both sides and we begin to slow as we change tracks. We pass Bridlington South signal box and then change tracks again. There are plenty of semaphore signals here. Bridlington station is definitely the largest on the line and has three platforms, though they are strangely numbered as 4 to 8 and we come into platform 6! End of Part 1.


Part 2 - 16.54 to Scarborough. (158 849) We have to wait for the train from Scarborough to come into the station before we can leave, as it is single track after the station. It is a little late, so we leave about two minutes after schedule. We go over a level crossing and enter an embankment, passing houses on both sides of the track. We have a great view of Flamborough Head and the North Sea on the right. We then move inland, passing yet more houses on the left, and then caravan sites on both sides. We pass through another cutting, after which we emerge into a hilly region with both cattle and sheep grazing on the right, whilst on the hill on the left is an old windmill. We then stop at Bempton station, which has a single platform with a bus stop. There is a lovely cream painted station house here, which is now in private hands. We go along another embankment and are out in open countryside now. There are more round bales of wheat on the left, whilst on the right there are bales that have been piled on top of each other. We start to gain in height now, before entering a cutting. We see open fields next and seem to be at the top of the hill that we have climbed. We pass another old station on the right, then go on another embankment over the A165.  We enter another cutting, which is quite overgrown and the branches of the bushes touch the train at times. We emerge into open country and ploughed fields. Then we start to descend. We are now in a low valley before entering another cutting, then a second overgrown track appears next to us on the right and we come into Hunmanby station, where the track is now double again. It has two platforms and shelters on each platform and an old station house on the eastern side, which is now another private home. It has a plaque on its side saying "built in 1848". We pass houses on both sides as we leave and then see sheep in the fields on the left. We speed up to about 50 mph and it is still quite hilly, but you can see further in the distance now and the sea appears on our right, once again.  We pass a caravan site on the left and then a row of red brick terraced houses appears on the right as we arrive at Filey station. It is identical in design to Beverly station with a single roof over the two platforms. It is well kept, with rubbish bins at regular intervals along the platform and I spy an advert for free range eggs at £1.30 a dozen in a window on the platform. We go over a level crossing and then past allotments on the left, as the track becomes single again.  We are in another cutting, and then move out into hilly country again. We go over the A165 and start to turn North West and move inland again. The land flattens out now. There are still plenty of cattle and sheep in the fields on both sides. We curve to the right. There are bales of hay on both sides. You can see a village or small town on the right in the distance. It's scrubland now as we slow to join up with the line from York on our left, staying double track for the rest of  our journey. Then we stop at Seamer, which is an island station with two lines of sidings next to it, as well as a signal box at its northern end. It has two blue-framed shelters, but sadly the perspex on them has faded and they are now opaque. We go out into open country again and travel parallel to the A64, which is on our right. This time it's hilly on the right and there is a small hill on the left, which looks like it could have been a spoil heap. Then houses appear on the left and warehouses on the right as we reach the outskirts of Scarborough. Some overgrown rails appear on the right and these eventually clear as we get a view of Scarborough spread out on the hillside on our right. There are more overgrown sidings on the right and plenty of semaphores, before Scarborough signal box appears on the left, complete with a Scarborough station sign in the tangerine of the North Eastern region of British Rail. We follow a very long platform on our left and come into the main station, which has five platforms, two of them bays. The station still looks grand and would undoubtedly be busier in the summer, but it still has trains to Liverpool, Sheffield and Hull, plus through trains from London St Pancras in the summer months. 

Summary: A picturesque minor line, which is busier between Bridlington and Hull, which nevertheless provides a vital rail link for these east Yorkshire communities.    MC