West Yorkshire market town of Pontefract
 
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Pontefract Photograph Gallery

RAILWAY PHOTOGRAPHY

PONTEFRACT STEAM RAILWAYS


by PETER COOKSON

| GALLERY ONE | GALLERY TWO | GALLERY THREE | GALLERY FOUR |

Peter Cookson's railway photographs are featured in
'The Digest Magazine- Pontefract Edition' - February and March 2006

Following our steam-age railway journey around the town over the last seven months, we turn now to the railway stations themselves.

Old railway photographs tend to come from three sources: official pictures taken by the owners of the railway company; Edwardian view cards and photographs taken by amateur railway enthusiasts. In particular, the Edwardian view cards are a rich source of information. In the early years of the 20th century the postcard was used for the purpose now served by the telephone. There were several postal deliveries per day and the picture postcard represented a simple way of getting in touch fairly quickly.

To meet the demand for cards the view-card companies produced local pictures in abundance and these almost always included the local railway station. These post cards have now become collector’s items and the Pontefract website displays many excellent views from Mr. Schofield’s collection. Three examples of these view cards are depicted below, two featuring Pontefract Baghill railway station, and one of Pontefract Monkhill railway station buildings.

In these next four images we take a closer look at Pontefract Baghill station,  the most important railway station on the Swinton and Knottingley Joint Line, which linked the Midland Railway near Swinton with the North Eastern Railway at Ferrybridge. The purpose of this link was to smooth out the passage of traffic from the Midlands and South West to the North East by avoiding the congested area around Normanton and for a century it functioned as the main line along the axis. Railway stations were provided at Bolton-on-Dearne, Frickley, Moorthorpe (and South Kirkby), Ackworth and Pontefract. All were of the same basic North Eastern design but Pontefract was bigger than the others. Public train services began on 1st July 1879 although goods traffic started a little earlier. Peter Cookson

Please Note: The photographs featured below are the copyright of Peter Cookson and may not be downloaded, copied, or reproduced without his express permission.

Pontefract Monkhill – originally known as just Pontefract – was the first station to be opened in the town and public services began on 1st April 1848. Although planned by the Wakefield, Pontefract and Goole Railway in 1844, by the time of its opening, various amalgamations of lines in the Lancashire and Yorkshire districts had led to the creation of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway and this in turn became the owning company of the Wakefield, Pontefract and Goole Railway.

It might have been expected that Pontefract station would have been rather more imposing than it turned out to be, as the original WP&G scheme of 1844 was launched in Pontefract and strongly advocated by two local men – George Fox and William Moxon. In the event, it turned out to be a rather modest building although it had a handsome exterior.

The building on the down side (i.e. towards Doncaster and Goole) was never more than a wooden structure and no platform canopies were ever provided on either platform. There was no consistent single style for the stations along the line and a variety of buildings was provided, but there were similarities between some stations, for example, Hensall and Womersley, and to a lesser extent, Pontefract and Snaith.

The following photographs show various views around the Pontefract Monkhill station area.


 

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