In its heyday the Bridlington Railway station grounds stretched from the marshalling area where B&Q now stands, across to the goods yard now occupied by Tesco, with a link to the harbour. Roger Stanley took us on a journey through time showing how this development progressed.
During the 19th century the industrial revolution was demanding more and more coal. Roger said the development of canals halved the cost of coal in some cases. The development of steam hauled railways was another step change resulting in increased profits all around and the rapid development of railways.
Roger told that a bid for a railway over the Wolds by Bridlington and Driffield businessmen failed to gain support. However, an 1845 Act of Parliament proposed by George Hudson, the “Railway King” and chairman of the York and North Midlands Railway Company to link Hull and Bridlington, was passed. Objections by the Bridlington Harbour commissioners were dismissed.
Roger gave a review of the life of George Hudson who was able to gain the services of the then famous Robert Stephenson as Engineer in Chief and George T Andrews as the architect for the Hull to Bridlington railway. The flat terrain and few major road crossings led to a speedy build.
The opening of the railway on 6th October 1846 was a big day. 66 small coaches hauled by 3 locomotives named Hudson, Antelope, and Aerial travelled to Bridlington followed by a parade around the town. A railway link from Filey soon followed.
Roger described the first railway station using maps, plans and photographs. The main entrance was at the town hall side, demolished in 1984 for housing. He did the same for the 1873 Benjamin Burleigh extension which in 1874 included the addition of the Quay Road signal box to meet new safety standards requiring semaphore signalling and telegraph technology.
Further work in 1892/93 included the building of the south signal box still in use, the bridge over of Station Road, a station masters house in 1899 since demolished, and in 1902 the Hilderthorpe Road bridge. A proposal for a bridge at Quay Road came to nothing.
Roger showed the rather grand club coaches for the business commuters to Hull which had steam heating and toilets. These ran from 1903 to 1939. In 1912 additional platforms were added and in 1922 the recently closed refreshment rooms were built. Roger’s excellent photographs included the two local Sentinel steam locos and railcar, and wartime bomb damage.
The vote of thanks was given by Michelle Stephens for Roger’s fascinating talk which will allow us to look at the our railway station as it now is with fresh eyes.