York–Scarborough line

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York–Scarborough line
Scarborough Railway Bridge York 2.jpg
Scarborough Railway Bridge, York.
Locale North Yorkshire
Yorkshire and the Humber
Scarborough, North Yorkshire
Owner Network Rail
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
York to Scarborough Line
Scarborough and Whitby Railway
to Scalby
Falsgrave Junction
Londesborough Road
Washbeck Viaduct
Scarborough Mere
Hull to Scarborough Line
Forge Valley Line
to Pickering
Y&NMR Pickering branch
Thirsk & Malton Line
to Gilling
Malton & Driffield Junction Railway
to Driffield
Derwent Viaduct
over River Derwent
Huttons Ambo
Crambeck Goods
Castle Howard
Kirkham Abbey
Barton Hill
Strensall Halt
York to Beverley Line
to Beverley
Foss Islands Branch Line
to York (Layerthorpe)
Scarborough Bridge
over River Ouse
East Coast Main Line
to Newcastle
Harrogate Line
to Leeds
East Coast Main Line
to Doncaster

The York–Scarborough line runs between the city of York, England, and the town of Scarborough. Towns and villages served along the way are Malton, Norton-on-Derwent and Seamer.


The line was built by George Hudson's York and North Midland Railway and opened on 7 July 1845.[1] The line was constructed remarkably quickly by the standards of the time, taking just one year and three days to complete the 42-mile route. This feat was possible because the Y&NMR decided against the more costly and time-consuming option of building a tunnel through the Howardian Hills south of Malton. Instead the chosen route meanders with the River Derwent for around four miles, creating a slower but more scenically pleasant experience for passengers

The railway line was opened with a ceremony for invited guests who were taken by George Hudson on a train of two engines and 40 first class coaches, which left York at 11.00 am. The line was initially single track and the journey to Scarborough took three and a half hours. In Scarborough the guests were treated to a lunch. After a return journey to York, the guests were treated to dinner in the Guildhall, hosted by the Lord Mayor of York.[2]

The new railway included a 6-mile branch from Rillington to Pickering that connected with the horse-worked Whitby and Pickering Railway which the Y&NMR immediately proceeded to take over and upgrade for steam traction.

Most of the intermediate stations on the line were closed to passengers in September 1930 as the number of excursion and holiday trains going straight through to Scarborough during that period meant that the line was too busy to accommodate local services. The closed stations retained their goods facilities and were maintained for occasional passenger use by excursion trains until the 1960s.[3]


There are currently plans to re-open the stations at Haxby[4] and Strensall due to the growth of population in those areas. There have been suggestions to re-open these stations since 1990 when it was pointed out that if they were inside a metropolitan county, then they would be re-opened very quickly.[5] In January 2009 funding to re-open Haxby station was confirmed but the Strensall plan has yet to come to fruition.

In 2014, work started on replacing the 1840s built bridge that carries the railway over the River Ouse. Network Rail spent £6 million on the entire project and used boats and pontoons floated on the River Ouse to reach the bridge. The new bridge opened to traffic on 23 February 2015.[6][7]

The route has 89 level crossings between York and Scarborough; 12 are supervised, 10 automatic and 67 are user worked crossings.[8] All supervised and automatic crossings and the residual 7 signal boxes en route will be closed and control handed over to the Rail Operating Centre in York by 2025.[9]


Services operated along this line are run by TransPennine Express. Services are roughly hourly and operate to and from either York, Manchester or Liverpool with a reduced service on Sundays. This is part of the North TransPennine route.[10]

Rolling stock on this line has consisted almost entirely of Class 185 DMUs since early 2007.

East Midlands Trains also run occasional summer services. The new Northern franchise run by Arriva Rail North will begin running services over the line from December 2017[11]

Scarborough also sees summer specials from York, hauled by the Flying Scotsman.

There is also talk of reinstating the pre-1965 link to Pickering to connect the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to the national network from its southern end, Allowing trains from Malton and beyond to reach Whitby. Such a move has been considered but does not seem likely for the foreseeable future.[12]


185133 is approaching York station on the old railway bridge over the River Ouse. The service is for Liverpool Lime Street.

On 3 February 2009, a car hit the back of a train passing over Knapton level crossing. The driver was taken to hospital, but he was not kept in. There were no casualties on the train.[13] The level crossing is an AHBC – automatic half barrier crossing.[14]


  1. ^ "York to Scarborough Railway". Castle Howard Station. Retrieved 6 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "Opening of the York and Scarborough Railway". York Herald. British Newspaper Archive. 19 July 1845. Retrieved 26 July 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ Abell, Paul (October 2015). "Railways Around Scarborough". Today's Railways UK. No. 166. pp. 58–59. ISSN 1475-9713. 
  4. ^ "Return of railway?". York Press. Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "March 27". York Press. Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  6. ^ "Rail services back to normal after Scarborough Bridge successfully replaced". York Council Press Links. York Council. 23 February 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  7. ^ "£6m upgrade for York's Scarborough Bridge". Rail Magazine. No. 769. 4–17 March 2015. p. 17. 
  8. ^ "Route Specification 2014 London North Eastern and East Midlands – Publications – Network Rail" (PDF). Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  9. ^ Rhodes, Michael. Resignalling Britain. Mortons Media. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-909128-64-4. 
  10. ^ "Download Timetables". First TPE. Retrieved 6 November 2015. 
  11. ^ Northern Franchise Improvements – DfTDepartment for Transport; Retrieved 13 June 2016
  12. ^ "Malton to Pickering – NYMR ambivalent". newsgroups.derkeiler.com. Retrieved 4 August 2009. 
  13. ^ Walker, Andy (3 February 2009). "Lucky Escape for Driver as Car Hits Train on Level Crossing". Northern Echo. Retrieved 6 November 2015. 
  14. ^ Jacobs, Gerald (2006). Railway Track Diagrams – Eastern. Bradford-On-Avon: Trackmaps. p. 18. ISBN 0-9549866-2-8. 

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