Journey’s end for railway station.
Just before Christmas our nostalgia page featured the unusual story of the theft of Cleckheaton railway station.
The story was taken from the Guardian archives of 1971 and revealed how a 33-year-old man from Dewsbury Moor had appeared before magistrates charged with stealing stone, timber, metal, railway track, chairs and buffer stops.
The magistrates were told that tenders had been submitted for the demolition of the disused railway station, but while the tenders were out, the station disappeared bit by bit without the consent of the owners, the British Railways Board.
Prosecuting for the BRB Mr R Irvine told the court: “It boils down to the theft of a railway station, purely and simply.”
A copy of the article was sent to former Spen resident Martin Tordoff, who is a keen railway enthusiast – as well as a keen photographer.
He kindly sent us a couple of pictures he took of the station at various stages of demolition.
“I took these in February 1968, just under three years after the end of passenger services in June 1965,” he said.
“From memory, the buildings on the platform were cleared away soon after demolition but the platform itself lingered on for a few years, and it may have been the stonework of this that was ‘stolen’ some three years later.
“The line was used for the occasional freight train until around 1981, but most of the rails and other metalwork around the station would probably have been disconnected from the remaining single running line by 1971 – it appears some of these too were included in the theft. Perhaps some of your readers can shed more light on this?”
To show readers what the station used to be like, we have included another picture of it which was taken in 1904, from Norman Ellis’s book Images of England – Spen Valley.
The structure replaced the 1848 station whose main building was similar to that at neighbouring Heckmondwike. The new station had an island platform, buildings down the centre and a ridge-and-furroe canopy with deep valances.
The station is seen from Tofts Road, with an underpass leading to Railway Street. Near the station were three warehouses, including one of three storeys and an outside hoist to lift goods from rail wagons.