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Malton Train Times - Now
A visitor to Malton Station today could be forgiven for thinking it was no more than a glorified halt on the York to Scarborough line, but for most of its existence Malton Station was a very busy place employing well over a hundred staff at its peak at the beginning of the 20th Century.
Long before the coming of the railway Malton had established itself as an important trading centre thanks to the navigable river Derwent, and by the time the railway opened on 7th July 1845 the north bank of the river was largely occupied by various breweries, mills and factories. Due to the north bank being already developed the railway had to be built on the south bank, in Norton. This caused numerous difficulties over the years, as the railway was unable to directly serve the businesses of Malton, the exception being the line to the biscuit factory in Railway Street, now flats, and formerly occupied by Brandsbys Agricultural Trading Association. These lines crossed the river on the recently refurbished bridge in Railway Street and until the late 1950ís the tracks were still insitu beneath the tarmac. Another bridge had been planned to cross the river, the intention being to serve the town gasworks, but this eventually came to nothing. Instead permanent employment was given, for over a hundred years, to Carters who transferred the coal from the station to the gasworks some half a mile away.
Between the opening in 1845 to the opening of the lines to Driffield and Gilling in May 1853 Malton Station had a relatively sedate beginning with only three trains each way between York and Scarborough. Even trains to Whitby started from the Junction Station at Rillington but when Malton became a junction with the opening of the aforesaid branches it soon became obvious that the original station had outlived its usefulness and in 1862 the station was remodeled with the York bound platform being repositioned outside the station roof.
Large amounts of freight were now being handled at Malton leading to an increase in the amount of engines required to haul these trains and the 1854 engine shed was extended in 1867 along with the laying of extra sidings to cope with the growing traffic. Further alteration became necessary in 1883 with the addition of a bay platform at the east end of the station to accommodate trains from Gilling, Driffield and Whitby as by now Rillington had ceased to be the connecting station.
Signaling and point operation up to the 1870ís had been rather a hit and miss affair, with accidents being commonplace, of which Malton had its fair share. One accident in particular occurred at the level crossing on Scarborough Road where a pointsman operated a set of points beneath a train causing it to derail and overturn. This level crossing was abolished shortly after and replaced by a brick bridge that still stands today, although the railway beneath is long gone.
Malton eventually came under the control of four signal boxes by the end of the 1870ís, the first being Malton West built about half a mile on the York side of the station and controlling the entrance and exits to the goods yards. Malton Station signal box was immediately opposite what is now the entrance to the station, via the booking office, and controlled trains in and out of all the platforms, including the unique trolley bridge connecting the two through platforms. The next signal box was Malton East that controlled the busy level crossing and junction towards Driffield. This box is the only survivor and is still in use today. The fourth signal box was at the aforementioned Scarborough Road and was the second box at the site, the first being a low structure. A tall signal box replaced this as the bridge that replaced the level crossing obscured the signalmanís view from the original low box. This box controlled the junction with the lines from Malton East to Gilling and the north, and Driffield to the south, followed some years later by sidings into the Yorkshire Farmers Bacon Factory at the end of Parliament Street.
From 1890 to the 1920ís Malton Station prospered and became one of the most important stations on the North Eastern Railway. Itís hard to imagine today all the activities taking place at that time. Engine whistles sounding, wagons shunting, and the clanking of couplings being the norm until midnight on most days.
The beginning of the 1930ís saw road transport expanding and the railways golden age was over. Maltonís first service to suffer was the passenger train to Gilling withdrawn largely due to the intermediate stations being some distance from the villages it served and the bus service being handier and cheaper. The following year saw the demise of the intermediate stations between York and Scarborough, with the exception of Malton and Seamer, these stations remaining open for parcels and goods traffic for a further thirty years. Freight, however, remained profitable thanks to the opening of large stone quarries at Wharram and Burdale on the Driffield line. Malton engines crews worked these stone trains as far as Thirsk yard for forwarding to Messrs Dorman Long & Co steelworks at Middlesbrough,
Nationalisation came on 1st January 1948 followed on the 5th June 1950 by the withdrawal of the passenger service to Driffield. This was hardly surprising as the passenger receipts were barely covering the cost of the engine coal let alone all the other operating costs. On 18th October 1958 the last freight train on the Driffield line ran to Fimber and Sledmere and back ending the one hundred and five year rail service over and through the Wolds. Four years later and the publication of the Beeching Report finished off the line to Gilling and beyond on 10th August 1964, followed by the Whitby service on 6th March 1965. Malton engine shed had closed in April 1963 and by the end of 1965 parts of the station and sidings were surplus to requirements. Scarborough Road signal box had closed with the demise of the Gilling branch in October 1964, the line being kept open to Amotherby for a few weeks longer due to a contract with B.A.T.A.
In May 1966 the signal boxes at Malton West and Malton Station were closed and a new electric control panel was installed at Malton East to control what was left of the layout, this box being renamed just Malton. At the same time the tracks in the bay platform were removed along with the all the sidings in the top yard, this is now Kwik- Saveís car park. The York bound platform was also abolished, all trains now using the one remaining platform under the roof that to this day causes delays when a train running late means two trains arriving together.
The re-signaling was completed in May 1968 when the infamous level crossing gates were replaced by flashing lights and lifting barriers. However, even at this stage Malton remained fully staffed with senior and junior booking clerks, porters, shunters and the a Station Master. The York to Scarborough pick up goods continued to run twice daily until the 1970ís as did the Knapton goods to serve the Associated British Maltsters sidings. By the early 1980ís only the morning York to Scarborough pick up goods was still running eventually becoming Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only and finishing completely in 1983.
At about this time the last Station Master, or manager as he had become, had departed for pastures new and it was decided not to fill the post and the station was put under the jurisdiction of Scarborough. More redundancies followed, the demise of the goods train ending the duties of the shunters and porters and the remaining sidings on the north side being removed and the land sold for housing. Only two sidings remain at Malton and these can only be used for storing engineersí trains due to the fact that they cannot be accessed from any public road. The overall roof was demolished in the mid 1990ís and replaced by the awning recovered from Whitby bay platform. The edge of this platform can still be seen behind the fence at the edge of Kwik- Saves car park.
As the years pass and memories fade only a few surviving photographs and clips of film are left to remind us of what was once such an important part of Maltonís history