Boyhood Memories of the Track at Bishopthorpe

Tim lived in Bishopthorpe as a young lad and still lives there today, using the path on a daily basis.

“I lived on Keble Park since I was a young kid in the late 70s  (I’m in my 40s now), and I have memories of the railway line being there – not many, as I was young.

One thing I remember is when watching the TV – in particular a small black & white (one for the kids there), when a train went by the picture would “fuzz over” and break up as it went by.

Another memory is my dad telling me the Flying Scotsman Steam Train was going to go by on a particular day, so I (probably 6-7-8 years old), and a load of mates who I also encouraged stayed waiting near the line in Keble Park South, (not that’d we be able to see much), we waited what seemed like hours and hours, I’m not sure if we had any idea of times, and eventually a steam train went by.

Last memory was probably not long before the track went. I must have been 9 years old ish, I was mates with a lad quite a few years older than me, and he wanted to go ON the tracks. We went near the garages on Keble Park North, I seem to remember there was only a wood fence, and he scaled it and clung on, back to the line, facing the housing estate, and stayed there as a (guess 125 or Deltic) went hurtling by, him excitedly shouting “I can feel it trying to suck me in”.

I didn’t try. But we did look at the track, he’d put his hand on it and exclaim “You can feel when a train is coming”.

I remember telling me mum and I don’t think she believed me.  Scares the **** out of me now just thinking about it! Not proud! I don’t even like crossing the line officially on the crossing at Copmanthorpe now, I guess young kids can be pretty fearless as well as stupid.

When it was taken up I must have been 8-9-10 , I remember some kids at our school got to visit it, I wasn’t one which really annoyed me…

That’s kind of it, until it was gone, I remember walking on the “track” as we called it on a family walk once the railway had gone, and collecting railway stuff like big metal hooks and stuff.

After that the track became the cycle track, which as kids we used for cycling down and making dens off it in the new woods we could play in (this will be late 80s I think.) Also used it for walking to school.

Now, as an adult I commute on it most days to work, go to York on it, go the allotments, go to the pubs and just a thing to walk on. Take my child to school on it too, so most days I’m on it, and pick from the fruit trees along it.

That’s about it I’m afraid, wish I had more memories, my granddad & great granddad worked on the railways and I believe my great granddad did live & work in the railway cottages.

As far as my great grandad goes – apparently they lived in a ‘railway cottage’ on Copmanthorpe lane,  where the crossing used to be,  and my great gran used to do the gates (my great grandad was a train driver), think this will be 1920s-1930s , but hard to be sure.

I’ve never seen any photos of this crossing or read any accounts,  so a bit annoying to find out just now from my mum!  Do you know of any photos?

I tried sharing the website and encouraging others to share their memories of it, hopefully you’ll get some stuff, it’s important to get history written down or future generations just won’t know what was there.”


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