Leeds, North Yorkshire, and Durham Railway


Leeds, North Yorkshire, and Durham Railway


Chop Gate



History - In 1864 the Leeds, North Yorkshire, and Durham Railway (LNYD) was promoted to break the North Eastern Railway (NER) monopoly in the area. The mainline would have run from Leeds Midland Station also known as Leeds Hunslet Lane, via Collingham, Wetherby, Easingwold, Helmsley, Stokesley to Stockton. There would have been branches to Hartlepool, Scarborough via Pickering and Seamer; and Kirkby Moorside to Spout House.
Between Helmsley and Great Broughton the mainline would have followed the B1257 over the North York Moors. The southern climb would be via Rye Dale and Bilsdale rising 679 feet in 15.1 miles an average grade of 1 in 117. The next section would have been a  down Clay Bank a drop of 140 meters in 2100 meters an average grade of 1:15. Considerable engineering work would have been needed to give an acceptable 'mainline' grade.
Had the railway been built it could have been taken over by the NER, like the Hull and Barnsley remain independent till being absorbed by the London North Eastern Railway in the 1923 grouping, or been taken over by the Midland Railway that was absorbed into the London Midland & Scottish Railway in 1923. Whichever path the LNYD followed it would have become part of British Railways in 1948. If it had been part of the Midland Railway the LNYD would have been transferred to the Eastern Region in the 1950s. The LNYD duplicated cheaper to operate NER lines so it seems unlikely Beaching would have left it alone; mainline status would have gone, branches might have closed, the mainline passenger service may have been downgraded or withdrawn but the LNYD might have survived into the 1970s as a freight and diversionary route.

Agriculture - Sheep and cattle provide the prime source of farm income. Agricultural use of the moors is shared with grouse shooting as a means of gaining financial return from the vast expanse of heather.

Coal mining at Urra - the North York Moors has coal seams worked by shallow mines from probably Roman times to the 1920s. Collieries were minute with output of less than ten tons a day. The poor lignitious coal contained 70% carbon and 15% ash. Uses were mixed with wood, peat, or turf on local hearths and industrial in lime kilns, ironstone kilns, & brick making. The railways made better and cheaper Durham coal available.
In the inter war period opencast mining (quarrying) for coal was seen as unprofitable. Coal quarrying was reenergised by the need for coal during the war, operation by quarrying companies, and the introduction of powerful civil engineering plant. Quarried coal is now more profitable than mined coal.
The LNYD allowed industrial coal extraction to restart on the Moors' around Urra during the war. The coal receives a minimum of cleaning at the quarry and isn't sized so facilities at the railway are loading bunkers.
For an opencast disposal point see http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/features/gatewen_opencast_disposal/index.shtml
The mines were only of local importance and left few records see Rosedale Mines and Railway by Hayes and Rutter, pdfs, and https://www.mindat.org/.

Ryedale Railway - planned a line from Gilling to a triangular junction at Harome (a) Helmsley to Stokesley and Thornaby, (b) Kirkbymoorside and Farndale to Stokesley, and (c) Kirkbymoorside and bypass Pickering on a direct route to Scarborough. (a) & (c) involved tunnelling and a substantial number of overbridges the Farndale branch alone was proposed to cross the River Dove 73 times in ten miles.