Parts of York’s original railway station unearthed by developers

18 Mar 2019 @ 5.01 pm
| History

A unique piece of York’s railway heritage has been uncovered for the first time in decades.

The old train turntable from the city’s first proper station has been unearthed by the construction crew working on the Hudson Quarter development on Toft Green.

York’s first makeshift railway station was built out of wood. The first station proper was designed by George Townsend Andrews inside the city walls on Toft Green and opened in 1841.

It was superseded in 1877 by the grand station we know today. But a lot of its history is under the old Hudson House building which was demolished to make way for the office building and apartment blocks which are being built there.

Digging down

The rediscovered train turntable which will be included in the grounds of the development
Structural evidence of the old station’s platforms, train turntables, auxiliary buildings and associated drainage systems were preserved amongst the piling and foundation beams belonging to Hudson House.

Working alongside Squibb Demolition, LS Archaeology oversaw the removal of modern build-up layers until the archaeological level was reached, allowing the remains of this historic railway to be recorded and planned.

The original station was devised by ‘The Railway King’ George Hudson, designed by George Townsend Andrews and engineered by the ‘Father of Railways’ George Stephenson.

A drawing of the first station, dating from 1861. Photograph: Wikipedia
The old railway station is in the foreground of this picture. Photograph: Explore York Libraries & Archives

Palace Capital owns the two-acre site on Toft Green. Chief executive Neil Sinclair said:

  • The archeological work on the site has been very important to us, as we were very aware of the significant location of the site.

    We are very excited at the prospect of incorporating the turntable into the Hudson Quarter landscape for future generations to enjoy. It will be a fitting reminder of the site’s rich railway history.

Work has just started on site to develop 127 luxury apartments, 34,500 sq ft of office space and 5,000 sq ft of other commercial uses, located in four buildings around a landscaped central area.

It is set to be completed by 2021.