Hellifield railway station
Hellifield railway station
|Number of platforms||2|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|1849||first station opened|
|1 June 1880||resited|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Hellifield from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
The station is 36 1⁄4 miles (58 km) north-west of Leeds on the Leeds to Morecambe Line towards Carlisle and Morecambe. The Ribble Valley Line from Blackburn also joins the Leeds to Morecambe Line at Hellifield which is managed by Northern, who provide all passenger train services. It is unstaffed, although the buildings are in private use and open to the public at certain times.
The first Hellifield railway station was opened by the "Little" North Western Railway in 1849. It was a modest structure, similar to those at Gargrave and Long Preston and sited 1⁄4 mile (0.4 km) to the south of the present one. A much larger replacement (the current station) was built by the Midland Railway and opened on 1 June 1880, immediately to the north of the junction of the line from Leeds and the newly completed Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway route from Blackburn via Clitheroe. It soon became a busy junction (as it was now located on the Midland Railway's main line from London to Scotland), with trains going to:
It was also the location of a busy locomotive depot and a large goods yard.
The line from Blackburn had its local passenger service withdrawn on 10 September 1962, but it remains open for goods traffic and periodic diversions when the West Coast main line is closed north of Preston for engineering work. The adjacent locomotive shed closed the following year and local trains from the station to Carlisle ended in May 1970, although it continued to be served by expresses to and from Glasgow until 1975. Thereafter it was downgraded to unstaffed halt status and served only by stopping trains between Leeds and Morecambe.
By the late 1980s the main buildings and canopies were in very poor condition and under threat of demolition, but following a £500,000 cash injection from British Rail in conjunction with English Heritage and the Railway Heritage Trust, they were refurbished and returned to private commercial use. Trains to and from Carlisle also started calling again in May 1995 to further encourage use of the station and its newly restored amenities.
Between 2005 and 2008, the station was used as the operating base for Kingfisher Railtours' Dalesman steam-hauled charter trains over the Settle-Carlisle Line. Facilities on offer to the travelling public at the station include the Long Drag cafe & gift shop and a heritage room used to exhibit items and photographs connected to the Settle-Carlisle route. The station is also still used by special trains and steam-hauled railway tours as a water stop and traction changeover point. It has also undergone further structural refurbishment in the summer of 2013, with Network Rail carrying out £500,000 of work on the Grade II listed buildings to repair/replace the glazing and repaint the canopies.
The last remaining signal box at the station (there were three until 1966) is one of only two manual boxes left in operation between Leeds and Carnforth (the other being at Settle Junction). It acts as the 'fringe' box to the Leeds workstation of York IECC in the Skipton direction, as well as controlling the junction and a pair of goods loops that are used to help regulate the increasingly heavy levels of freight traffic on the Carlisle, Leeds and Blackburn lines.
Accidents and incidents
- On 22 December 1955, an express passenger train overran signals and was in a rear-end collision with another. Irregular operation of signals was a major contributory factor and the signalman at Hellifield South Junction was blamed for the accident.
There is a regular service each day from Hellifield to Leeds (thirteen trains on both weekdays and Saturdays since the May 2011 timetable change) and to Carlisle and Morecambe. The interval between services southbound ranges from thirty minutes to two and a half hours. Northbound there are five trains to Morecambe and six to Carlisle plus one evening service to Ribblehead – these run every two hours in the morning but less frequently in the afternoon. One Morecambe train runs through to Heysham to connect with the daily ferry service to the Isle of Man.
On Sundays there is an irregular service in both directions – three trains to Carlisle, four to Morecambe and seven to Leeds. The Morecambe line had its service levels improved at the May 2011 timetable changeover, with the first two trains in each direction extended to operate throughout the year rather than only in summer as was previously the case.
Also on Sundays in the summer, a train operates from Blackpool North, Preston and Blackburn and along the Ribble Valley Line via Clitheroe to Hellifield and onwards towards Carlisle. This service, 'Dalesrail', operated by Northern was extended, from mid-September 2013, to cover Sundays for the remainder of the year. Trains normally run through to Carlisle in the summer months, but terminate at Hellifield in the winter (connecting into or out of Leeds to Carlisle trains). Following the serious landslip at the northern end of the line in early 2016, the Dalesrail service only runs as far as Appleby, where the train is stabled in the sidings there for the day, prior to its return run later on. There are plans for more services from Clitheroe. The Ribble Valley Rail group is campaigning for this route to be re-opened.
The new Northern franchise that began in April 2016 will see further timetable enhancements brought in (likely in December 2017), with two additional Morecambe and one extra Carlisle trains introduced on weekdays and one Morecambe & two Carlisle services on Sundays. The timetable on both routes will also be amended to improve commuting opportunities and provide a later last train from Leeds than at present.
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
Leeds to Morecambe Line
Ribble Valley Line
|Bell Busk||Midland Railway
"Little" North Western Railway
Ribble Valley Line
- Binns 1982, p. 33.
- Binns 1981, p. 3.
- Daniels, Gerald David; Dench, Leslie Alan (February 1963) . Passengers No More 1952–1962. Closures of stations and branch lines (PDF) (2nd ed.). Brighton: GLO. p. 8. OCLC 504319235.
- Historic England. "Hellifield Station Main Paggesner Building (1131702)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
- "New Efforts To Bring Station back To Life". Telegraph & Argus. 11 March 2005. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
- "Kingfisher Railtours – The Dalesman". Retrieved 17 October 2008.
- "Makeover for historic Hellifield station" (press release). Network Rail Media Centre. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Hellifield Station to Get 500,000 Facelift". Craven Herald & Pioneer. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- Vaughan 1989, pp. 100–04.
- GB National Rail Timetable 2015–16, Table 42
- Binns, D. (1981). Railways Around Skipton. Skipton: Wyvern Publications.
- Binns, D. (1982). The Little North Western Railway. Skipton: Wyvern Publications. ISBN 0-907941-01-X.
- Vaughan, Adrian (1989). Obstruction Danger. Wellingborough: Patrick Stephens Limited. ISBN 1-85260-055-1.
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