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The Railway

Rise of the Railways

In the early days, Goole did not want a railway as this would have meant competition to the canal. However, to stop railway traffic going to Hull, the Company Directors decided not to oppose a railway to Goole, but to plan it so it helped the town. In the 1830's there were eleven proposals for railways to the town, this was reduced to six and finally the Wakefield, Pontefract & Goole Railway Co. was chosen as the successful line. Railway Dock was built to accommodate the new line and both opened in 1848 by which time the WP&GR had been taken over by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway.

The 'Lanky' has its origins in 1825, the year when the Stockton & Darlington Railway opened, with the forming of the Leeds & Manchester and Liverpool & Manchester railways. The M&LR had to cut across the Pennines and followed the traditional transport route between the old West Riding and Manchester following a twisting, winding course through two deep valleys cut at the end of the ice-age. After a lot of arguing with the Rochdale Canal Company, the construction finally got Royal Assent in 1836. Constructing the M&LR was hard with thousands of navvies building the tunnels, bridges, viaducts and embankments. The line was finally opened in 1841 and became the North's most important means of communication.

L&Y Mural at Victoria Station

Victoria Station in Manchester was the impressive main station on the L&YR network. Despite years of grime, neglect and a Luftwaffe attack during WWII, it has a magnificent air of dignity and has two items of interest to Goolies. There is a huge mural still inside the station showing how powerful the L&YR had become at its peak. By the late 19th Century, it served every major town in the industrial north, or it had links to other towns with other railways. The mural shows the importance of Goole to its operations (look at the size of its circle and shipping destinations compared with Hull)

The entrance to Manchester Victoria Station

Outside the station, is a list of the major destinations served by the company. Goole is shown rated above London and only below Ireland and Scotland in importance.

The Humber Ports competed with each other to export coal and this led to races from rival train companies to reach the sea. The Selby & Hull Railway opened in 1840. This became part of the York & North Midland Railway in 1845, and part of the North Eastern Railway in 1854. By the end of the railway building rush in the 1860's, the ports of Goole, Hull and Grimsby had their own railway networks. The L&YR catered for collieries between Leeds and Barnsley sending coal to Goole. The NER handled coal north of the River Aire for Hull. The Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway handled coal south of Barnsley for Grimsby.

The NER came to Goole in the 1860's to link Gilberdyke to the South Yorkshire Railway at Thorne. This created a new railway station on Boothferry Road which is still used today. The Hull & Barnsley Railway opened in the 1880's to provide a link from the Barnsley coalfields to Hull. A link was established between the H&BR and the L&YR at Hensall, allowing the L&YR to promote a Liverpool to Hull service. In 1910 the NER built a line from Selby to Goole.

The Axholme Joint Railway was originally promoted by two companies, the Goole & Marshland Light Railway and the Isle of Axholme Light Railway. The L&YR and NER took over the project and completed it in 1909 to link Goole to the Trent valley. Regular passenger services were operated on the 27 mile system until 1933. Freight services continued afterwards with the last section retained until the early 1970's

Heyday of the Railways

The original L&Y station by Railway Dock L&Y goods office on Stanhope Street Plan of Goole's Railway

The original L&YR station was built alongside Railway Dock and had two 100ft platforms adjacent to St John's Street. In 1881-82, the docks were expanded and the L&YR station closed down with all passenger trains using the NER station in Boothferry Road. They also built a large Goods Office across from Stanhope Dock. When the Selby to Goole Line opened, a spur was built between Rawcliffe Bridge Junction and Oakhill Junction for all passenger traffic. The line between Rawcliffe Bridge Junction and West Junction was always very busy with freight traffic to the docks. The branch lines led to a high-level coal drop and other parts of the docks.

Unloading timber from the Danish Ship, Thya S The docks branch line in 1989 An engine on the docks today

Railway freight always played an important part of the development of Goole. As well as the coal traffic, general goods were loaded onto ships and the L&YR took over the Goole Steam Shipping Company in 1905 to aid this growth. Up to 20 years ago most goods were loose and handled in the open air by a large number of men. Today everything is stored in containers or on pallets. A container service was first introduced by British Railways in the 1950's on their service between Goole and Copenhagen. Goole also had a Renault car terminal which transported cars by rail until the late 1980's

The new station - 1 The new station - 2 The old station after the bridge was removed

Decline of the Railways

Railway traffic was always busy up to the war years, but in the 1950's traditional freight began to fall away. The Beeching Cuts of the 1960's saw the closure of all lines around Goole except for the lines between Doncaster & Hull and Knottingley to Goole. The Wakefield to Goole passenger trains were withdrawn in 1967 and a Leeds-Castleford-Knottingley-Goole service introduced. The flat Yorkshire countryside saw the construction of huge coal-fired power stations at Ferrybridge, Eggborough and Drax, this led to the re-opening of part of the H&BR line.

Visitor Comments

Posted by Woodville at 17/04/2012 20:29
Posted by ex signal box lad at 22/04/2012 11:18
ive just watched the film of goole railway station.
on the film was donny smith . who was a porter.
a proper gentle man and very warm hearted
Posted by Patricia Spink at 21/08/2012 19:11
Goole Steam?
Why have a link on here when it is not available????
Patricia Spink
Posted by HARRY TUTTY at 05/09/2012 09:50
Posted by eddie audas at 19/09/2012 13:53
to harry tutty.

Have v0-4-0 pugs in 25 shed yard in pictures I brought from Goole. Now living in Benidiorm on the sunny sea front.

Hope you still follow the aircraft. Stuart will give you my email if you want it , I know you will not send me things that I would not like to hear Hi. Regards to all in Goole who remember me (Good or Bad)
Posted by HARRY TUTTY at 24/09/2012 20:43
Posted by eddie audas at 03/10/2012 20:47
harry tutty,

ok harry I forgot that I had shown the photo of the pug. Thanks , all fine here and would recormend this to all pensoners that need an uplift. I am told that benidorn weather will put 5 years on your life and I do not suffer from the winter as I did. 21.45 and still 23 degrees . Ibiza for 4 days soon regards eddie.
Posted by HARRY TUTTY at 03/10/2012 21:03
Posted by Paul at 04/10/2012 20:50
Harry Tutty
The Stuart referred to is the webmaster for this site.If you would like eddie's contact details request them from Stuart at your request you may wish to refer to Eddie's post as it indicates he is happy for Stuart to pass on his contact details.
Posted by HARRY TUTTY at 05/10/2012 09:06
Posted by HARRY TUTTY at 06/10/2012 17:30
Posted by Ron Ellis at 11/01/2013 16:42
Does anyone remeber my Uncle Edward Ellis who was station master at Goole Station during the 60's. Any information would be appreciated. Kind regards.
Posted by eric rawcliffe at 22/01/2013 21:22
For Eddie Audas
I've just seen your reference to having several Pug photos. If you're amenable would be delighted to include them on our website. The L&Y Trust has two preserved Pugs, both out of ticket at present, one at Haworth and one at Preston. Browse our website and you'll see what we do in preserving carriages and locos from the L&Y era.
Thanks, Eric Rawcliffe
Posted by John R Tindall at 18/12/2013 18:48
I have looked through the thread which has brought back happy memories of the time that I spent on the railways at Goole from 1961 to 1974.
Many names are familiar. I travelled with Ted Ellis, Station Master, from Goole to Wakefield after he finished his last working day. I recall him saying that he didn't know what he was going to do in retirement.
I started in the Traffic Agent's Office, Stanhope Street, spent a period in the parcels office and the Motive Power Depot. Upon closure I moved to the amenities block near Goole Goods Junction.
Happy times.
Posted by John R Tindall at 18/12/2013 19:14
I remember that Dennis Garner who was one of the footplate staff at Goole in the 1960s starting a web site called Goole Steam. It included a lot of information and interesting photographs taken before the advent of the diesel trains.
Subsequently Dennis organised a re-union at Goole library where quite a lot of railway people gathered and recalled the happy times.
As it was, the web site closed down a few years ago and unfortunately the information which had been posted about the railways and the docks in Goole in the 1960s and even earlier was lost. It had been a good tool to recall what the situation was like in the times of the steam locomotives, compared to what we have now.
Posted by anna j dixon at 08/01/2014 01:12
No5 Swing Bridge The Last family to live there were Our family Ethe Dixon and William Henry Dixon know as Harry, and me and my sister Eileen Dixon we watch the last steam locomotive being run , and the scrap line in goole loco depot, sad times even back then goole was going backward I seen goole go down the pan, shop closed and pubs too the ship yard close the dock in decline , the canal slow coming to a end with commercial cargo barges , yes its all gone, back wards now there nothing but a silted rivers and little used canals the rail almost gone too, and to think this town was a great town a very busy too now its all gone this is real sad times
Posted by Dennis Garner at 16/03/2014 11:52
Message for John Tindall hi John hope you are well, With ref to my old Goole-Steam web site I am afraid I had to remove it as I had not anticipated how popular it would become and how much mail it would generate it became in fact a full time job, a bit of a beast really. I noticed that the B1 "IMPALA" 61002 that spent its last months with us at Goole shed has been cloned at North Yorks Moors Railway or at least its name and number plates have, I remember being fireman on her quite a bit and it made a nice change to the clunky austerities,I recall being the safety rider on her when she was one of five being dragged off out of steam and dead to Sheffield for scrap. Going back to the G-S website I still have all the pages archived on my PC hard drive plus around 200 photos of Steam in and around Goole, mainly at the shed.
If anyone would SERIOUSLY fancy setting up a similar web site I would be prepared to make all the material available but please not just to sit in a private collection, all the info needs to be availably to all on a web site but I just have not the time or energy to service it, well I am 65, you are right the 60s days of steam were the good old days but we just did not realise it at the time. regards to all. Dennis
Posted by Eric Rawcliffe at 23/03/2014 18:21
Message for Dennis Garner
Dennis, I note your comments about Goole Steam and keeping it online. If it is of interest, it may be possible to link to it from as excellent background information to the work of our charitable trust, looking after 2 L&Y pugs, an Aspinall ST, and 4 L&Y carriages. If this is of interest, please contact us via our website - thanks, Eric
Posted by Norman Roberts at 30/04/2014 20:16
I worked on the Railways and enjoyed every moment of it,a friend Who I worked with at the old flax mill said the railways are setting on firemen, we went to the office in Stanhope St he was first in to the office they only wanted one fireman he got the job.
I Finished up being a number taker at Marshalling Sidings along with Foremen shunters and fellow Number takers.
When my job ended I finished up at the station goods yard delivering goods to the local shops and Parcels to the local villages,
My Colleagues were two of the best Ken Batty and Harry Yoeman I have many more good Memories, P/S I met Harry Tutty in town we had a bit of a good natter thanks Harry I enjoyed it.
Regards N R
Posted by roger carr at 28/08/2014 18:31
I obtained two locomotive smokebox numberplates from Goole engine shed I think it must have been sometime 1967 or 68 when thet were withdrawing them, 90704 and I think the other was probably something like 90760?. I eventually swapped the latter for 45028 ex Carlisle Kingmoor with a friend. I
still have 90704 to this date.
Posted by Dean palmer at 27/11/2014 16:51
Hi, Im Arthur Palmers grandson Dean. He was in the Merchant Navy,Royal navy,Signal man at Oakhill and a Docks worker until the mid 80's. He unfortunately passed away in March 2005. Regards.
Posted by Tina Cooper (Nee Potter) at 16/05/2015 21:08
I only came across your site today and read with great interest that in 2010 a lady called Jackie Haines was asking about Fred Potter. He was my great grandfather. I appreciate it`s a long time ago since she made the request but if Jackie would like to contact me via email we have lots of information about him, in fact my mother has his George medal that was awarded to him and all the documentation for his actions at the sidings one fateful night.
Posted by Keith at 03/07/2015 19:39
I feel that British Rail are just having a laugh at Goole . I was held up today at the crossing gates , it was about 5 minutes before the train arrived at the station another 5 minutes before it unloaded its passengers, then another 5 before the barriers lifted.Surely there was no need to drop the barriers before the train stopped or until the train had unloaded ? Anyone else get frustrated with Goole crossings ?
Posted by John R Tindall at 06/08/2015 09:36
I was a learner driver with Campbell's Driving School in the early 1960s and the level crossing gates seemed to be permanently closed between 17-00hrs and 18-00hrs at that time.
You would think that with the automatic crossings, albeit controller by a signalperson, there would be no need for the barriers to be closed to road traffic across Boothferry Road for some 15 minute to let one dmu pass through. I suppose the answer given would be that it was done on grounds of safety.
Should be consistent though, as when I was leaving Bridlington yesterday on my way home to York, the barriers dropped for a train to pass through for Hull at say 40 mph and then they were raised straight away after the train had passed. All complete in less that 3 minutes and this train was travelling at speed. The latter being completed without any involvement of a signalman.
Posted by Dennis Garner at 27/03/2016 12:09
Hello all,
Not been on here for ages and it looks like not many people have. Some of you may remember I had a website Goole-Steam a few years ago, (see notes above) Just to let you know I have started again with a facebook group last month, hopefully this is more interactive and I wont be tied to it as much as the website. There are quite a few pictures and comments on already so if you have facebook come and have a look, tick join and I or one of the other members will let you in. just type, steam shed goole, in facebook.
re comment above about smokebox plate from 90704 she was stabled at goole twice in her life, nov. 1959 to nov.1963 and dec1966 to jun1967
Posted by Paul Bateman at 07/09/2016 20:17
My grandparents ( On my mothers side ) were Gate Keepers at East Cowick level crossing and lived in the house alongside that was provided. They were evacuated by train during the floods in the 50s and returned to quite a mess ! My mother who grew up in the Gate Keepers cottage still lives in East Cowick less than a few hundred meters from the now disappeared cottage somewhere under the undergrowth.
Would love to see any pictures that anyone has of the Cottage / Crossing way back.
Posted by ken sayner at 06/01/2019 22:52
can anyone offer information about Watkin William Winn please early station master at North Eastern Railway in Goole

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