On 29th November 1965 a tragedy of epic proportions was played out in the East Riding of Yorkshire, when Dr Beeching’s programme of cuts to the national rail network hit home. The historic Beverley to York railway line was closed, using various dubious economic arguments, which have since been largely discredited.
On the line which connected our famous Minster towns for over a century, the last train steamed majestically across the snowy Wolds. Market Weighton, Pocklington and Stamford Bridge and many other small settlements suddenly found themselves marooned –their railway era had ended.
Since then the towns and villages have grown and expanded. Road traffic into York and Hull has increased exponentially, as have accidents, pollution and congestion.
The Minsters Rail Campaign was established to promote the case for re-opening the line. A group of local people has come together to make the case for a fast, efficient, affordable and safe transport alternative. A report by internationally respected consultants Carl Bro, which was commissioned by the local authorities and supported by the Countryside Commission, concluded that the scheme was feasible, and supported by sound economic argument.
The Minsters Rail Campaign has mounted a series of initiatives to publicise the scheme, such as the campaign roadshow that collected thousands of signatures of support in 2004. Our intention is to ensure that the aims of the campaign remain in the public eye, keeping up the pressure on the decision makers, who can help make it happen. A report completed by consultants Carl Bro showed that the line was feasible - If you would like to see a copy of the Carl Bro Report, please contact:
The Minsters Rail Campaign entered a new phase at the beginning of 2014, after it became known that the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's new draft Local Plan does not protect from development the routes identified in the 2005 feasibility study round Stamford Bridge, Pocklington and Market Weighton where the original line has been built over. This is because ERYC considers that the project is not deliverable by 2029 (the timeframe of the Local Plan) and therefore that protection of these parts of the route should not be included - which would make any future reopening very unlikely. This is in spite of a commitment in the Local Plan that the ERYC will work with neighbouring authorities, partners and funding bodies to explore opportunities to promote the reinstatement.
Despite this setback, the AGM in March decided unanimously to keep the Campaign going and new officers were elected. We pay tribute to George McManus who was Chairman from the outset up to the 2014 AGM, and want to build on his work. We have
challenged the soundness of the Local Plan in a written representation, and again at the public examination of the Plan before a Planning Inspector on 14th October.
produced in July a new document with a summary of the case for reopening which has been circulated to key councillors. It is also available for our members on this website.
hosted in York on 5th November the first ever meeting of representatives from all the local authorities along the whole route - Hull, East Riding, Ryedale, North Riding and York, plus also Network Rail - to try to garner support for the reinstatement.
The key tasks for 2015 will be about funding to update the 2005 feasibility study. (The November meeting was supportive, but there was no prospect of funding from local authorities.) This will involve
engaging the Local Enterprise Partnerships for our area with the project
continuing to work closely with local authorities and councillors to encourage them to buy into our vision
making use of the experience of other reopening schemes which have already successfully gone through this stage in the process
We expect to learn the outcome of our challenge to the ERYC Local Plan in the new year, and will update our members as well as the Campaign’s sponsors listed on this website.
2015 is of course an election year and it seems likely that the election is going to be the most unpredictable and interesting for many years. We will be seeking to make progress with the MPs and councillors who are elected.
Whilst we are not aligned with any political party, we will be contacting all candidates during the election campaign to ascertain their support for of the Campaign and make it public (via press release, social media and this website) to raise the profile of the Campaign.
Peter Hemmerman, Chairman
How you can help?
If we are to be successful, we need your support. You can make your contribution in a number of ways. We can help with information and speakers.
1) Raise the issue with your local councillor, at East Riding or parish level, and ask him/her to support us.
2) Organise a local meeting with residents and business people.
3) Speak to local teachers, and design a project for children to undertake.
4) Write to your newspaper,or ring BBC Radio Humberside or BBC Radio York.
5) Occasionally deliver leaflets and news letters in your area.
You can also become a member for £5 a year, or take out life membership at £50.
Any members with businesses will get a link on our links page.
Corporate Membership is £50 per year, with a link on our link page, and a section in our patrons and supporters page.
All money to be sent care of the Treasurer or Chairman, at the addresses below.
If you want to advertise on these pages, please contact the webmaster below.
Key Campaign Members
Chairman - Peter Hemmerman
I was born in Hull in 1949 and the early part of my career was spent at sea. In 1983 I moved to Market Weighton and ran my own business from 1988 to 2012 when I retired.
In the early 1990s I became involved with the Market Weighton Chamber of Trade becoming Chairman in 1995. This has enabled me to take an active part in the community and I have been instrumental in instigating and progressing many projects in Market Weighton such as Giant Bradley Day, The Bradley Statue, Vixen 101 Community Radio and the local producers market. In 2007 I was elected to serve on Market Weighton Town Council becoming Mayor for 3 years from 2010. I am presently Deputy Mayor and represent the council on the East Riding Flood Liaison Group and chair the Neighbourhood Plan Group. I led the successful attempt to obtain funding from the Portas Review and am now treasurer for the Market Weighton Town Team which is regenerating the retail area of the town.
I am honoured to have been asked to chair the Minster Rail Campaign as I am passionate about bringing rail travel back to East Yorkshire and see it as the only viable future for mass transit in the region. I will work hard to bring together all the available expertise in the area to re establish the Beverley to York line as a vital economic boost to business and tourism in the region.
I am married to Catherine and have a daughter Louise.
Treasurer - Tony Ross
My professional career following university was in chemical engineering. I took early retirement from the BP Chemicals site, Saltend, Hull, in 1992, after 27 years of service with the BP Group.
I’ve had a lifelong interest in railway, growing up in Dewsbury (West Yorkshire) until 1951, when I moved with my family as a 14-year-old to Bridlington. I’m a member of the national rail lobby group Railfuture (see http://railfuture.org.uk) and of a number of historical and other railway societies. As a young photographer in BR steam days I applied for and obtained a lineside photographic permit. Two of my early 1960s b/w photographs at Market Weighton were included in the following (now out-of-date) BBC Radio Humberside link about the Campaign in 2006: See:
I was born and grew up in south-west Scotland but have strong family connections with York. I can’t remember not having an interest in railways, and in the early 1960s if the holidays included a stay in York, it was great to spend a day at the station. My career was in university libraries, and it was this that brought me to the University of Hull in 1976 until I retired in 2009. For the last several years my job was providing training in the best ways of finding information online for research projects.
I am involved with various railway groups, and have helped the Hull & East Riding Rail Users’ Association (of which I am Treasurer & Membership Secretary) to compile responses to consultations on the future of rail services in our area. I became more actively involved in the Minsters Rail Campaign after it was known that the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's draft Local Plan does not protect the routes identified in the 2005 feasibility study round the three areas where the original line has been built over, and drafted our challenge to the soundness of the Local Plan.
Another interest is anything to do with Spain (Spanish was my subject at university), and I am President of the Hull Spanish & Latin American Society. My wife Iris and I try to get a couple of breaks in Spain every year, travelling by train if possible.
The last time I travelled on the Beverley to York line was in August 1963, and I look forward to doing so again.
Membership Secretary and Webmaster - David Wells
David Wells is Principal Rail Consultant who has 25 years experience in the rail industry and lives in York. He is also a tutor with the Institution of Railway Operators on their Rail Certificate Course.
"I joined the MRC as I believe the campign is vital for the economic future of the area. The roads to the east of York are frequently congested as well as having poor accident records. The city of York is a very special place to visit, and being able to access the city centre by train or even tram will be greatly beneficial to preserving that, and making East Yorkshire an even better place to live".
The original rules document has been scanned in. Our apologies for the quality of these.
LETTER IN RAIL MAGAZINE
Minsters Rail Campaign secretary David Pennie has had a letter published in Rail magazine re-inforcing the argument that the Minsters line would act as a second route into Hull should the Humber shoreline route not be available due to flooding.
MINSTERS RAIL CAMPAIGN ON TV
We are hoping to feature on BBC television on the programme "Inside Out" when MRC member James Wilson will commute into York showing the difficulties he faces.
MEMBERSHIP FEE INCREASE
The cost of postage has meant that reuctanty the MRC has had to increase annual membership to £10. Life membership remains at £50.