Midway between London and Edinburgh, where north-south and east-west lines cross, York is an important railway city. This goes back to the very earliest days of this mode of transport.
York’s very first station was a temporary wooden built affair in 1839. A stone-built station was erected in 1841 just inside the city walls, built as part of the “Railway Madness” boom. It was soon found that York was developing as a thriving railway centre at a rate that meant it soon outgrew the site. Expansion was not possible because of the walls, so a replacement was soon needed. (The original building is still there, across the road behind the walls and now remodelled as the main council offices.)
The present railway station opened in 1877, with 13 platforms, and it was then the biggest station in the world.
Pause on the footbridge to admire the long curved glass roof, supported by elegant, decorated Victorian pillars of cast iron. Before leaving, check out the tiled map of the original huge local network (on the wall opposite WH Smith) centred on York.
The station’s glory days, in the age of steam are now recalled when the legendary Flying Scotsman visits its spiritual home to pull day trips in summer. (It is now housed in the National Railway Museum, housed in the former vast rail sheds behind the station.