The Station House History
The Scarborough & Whitby Railway line was first planned in 1845 and was eventually opened 40 years later in July 1885, running some 21 miles in length from Scarborough, taking in Gallows Close, Scalby, Cloughton, Hayburn Wyke, Staintondale and Ravenscar before terminating at Whitby.
Cloughton became the first place on the line to have a train ‘service’ in January 1884, eighteen months before the line opened officially. This was on the occasion of a Band of Hope meeting at Raven Hall when the contractor fitted out some trucks with seats and the train set off from Scarborough with 80 ladies and gentlemen. At Cloughton they stopped to pick up another 60 although it was to be over a year before the station itself was constructed.
In 1889 a loop line was authorised and on the 27th August 1891 the Scarborough & Whitby Railway company allowed the N.E.R. to make Cloughton a complete passing place. This was built the year after in 1892 and also boasted the only public level crossing on the line, (on Station Lane).
In the early 1900s, the station was well cared for by Stationmaster McKenzie Proctor and his staff, and went on to win many certificates in the Best Kept Station competition. This continued in the early 1930s under the supervision of stationmaster J. Waugh and in the late 1930s under R.L. Richardson. The last certificate issued by British Rail was in 1964, when Cloughton won 1st prize, Alf Hart being the stationmaster overseeing the planting annually of approximately 1500 plants.
During the second world war, operations at the station were disrupted for a time when an incendiary bomb was dropped on the signal box by Germans returning home from sorties over England. Alf Hart, having previously worked here in the 1930s, was happy to take the position of stationmaster in the mid-1940s as it had a good retail coal business!
This was an official sideline but the books had to be audited by the Railway Inspector. Up to 160 tons of coal were delivered daily and apart from the trains, most of it was then transported by wagon and later on by truck to the surrounding farms and villages. Another station sideline was the sale of newspapers which arrived by train from W.H.Smith’s in Scarborough.
Before his appointment here, Alf had previously been a porter /signalman at Goathland in the early 1930s and stationmaster at Barton Hill, York, in the early 1940s, (where during the war the road was used as a storage depot for ammunition bound for France for the D. Day invasion).
Alf was one of the first three people in Cloughton to have a TV set in the early 1950s, the other two being Mr Coulson from the shop and the Rev. Birch, whose Sunday evening service always ended promptly to enable him to be home in time for the 8 o’clock play on BBC.
The two station cats were also on the payroll as mouse and rat catchers and would earn their keep in the goods warehouse where the grain was kept, awaiting transportation. They also had their perks, especially Tyke, who was known to jump into the guards van when fish was being carried. If discovered, he would be put off further up the line; if not, he made it all the way to Whitby and was returned on the next train down.
Not to be outdone, Midge, the station dog, a liver-coloured springer spaniel would walk the whole length of the platform stopping at each compartment, enticing train passengers to give him treats.
Animals of a larger kind also appeared at Cloughton when “the circus came to town”. It was sited in the fields off Scalby Road and the circus animals, including elephants, were off-loaded at the cattle dock in the station yard.
The stationmaster was also responsible for three camping coaches which were positioned in a siding to the south of the station. Holidaymakers would purchase paraffin and oil from the stationmaster for the lamps and heaters.
Even though the stationmasters seemed to prosper, the stations did not, and the line was never profitable, e.g., one week in 1964 the wages for Cloughton and Staintondale amounted to £160, whereas ticket sales totalled just £6.00
Inevitably, the line became a Beeching closure in 1965, the last passenger train being the 7.55pm from Scarborough on Saturday, the 6th of March, 1965. The fixtures and fittings were sold two years later and the line continued to be owned by British Rail until the 1970’s when Scarborough Borough Council bought the Scalby to Hawsker section for £29,500.
In the picture above (Cloughton (1965) photo in Homepage & Gallery folder) is the small goods yard with cattle dock and goods shed with wooden awning at our own Cloughton Station. The main line appears in the middle of the photograph with the passing loop on the left.
This was not built until 1892 when the S and WR company authorised the N.E.R. to join up what was then a siding to form a complete passing place.
The level crossing at the north end of the station was the only manned one on the line, but when the government inspector of the Board of Trade examined the line in 1885 prior to it’s opening, he stated that the S and WR company should be prepared to build a bridge in its place if this became necessary.