Television show explores history of York railway station and Ribblehead Viaduct

The history of York's "architectural marvel" railway station will be explored on a television show.

The Architecture The Railways Built continues at 8pm on tomorrow (Tuesday) on the channel Yesterday.

It will examine the York station and its "amazing history that helped to change the face of the city forever," according to the National Railway Museum.

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The attraction said the programme shows that the station that serves York today is actually not the city’s original railway hub.

York railway station in 1956.York railway station in 1956.
York railway station in 1956. | other

With the insight of the museum’s head curator, Andrew McLean, viewers are informed that an original stone station was first built in 1841 on the site of what is now the City of York Council Headquarters.

However, architectural details are still evident on the building, and in the surrounding area, including on the city walls.

Dr Emma Wells, an architectural historian from the University of York, describes the impressive station roof as a “cast iron cathedral”.

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Mr McLean said: “Thanks to George Hudson, York was at the very centre of Britain’s railway system and it remains an important railway city to this day. York station has a fascinating history and played an important role in the development of the railways across the UK. It was a real pleasure to turn the spotlight on our home city for this series.”

Andrew McLean at York station.Andrew McLean at York station.
Andrew McLean at York station. | other

Dr Wells, of the university's Centre for Life Long Learning, said: "It was a true pleasure to unravel the intricate web of both beauty and engineering which surrounds the architecture of York station.

"Everywhere you look, from down to the tracks and up to the roof, every inch of its design is ingrained with signs, symbols and meanings integral to York, and indeed Yorkshire’s, rich past—most of which will be entirely unknown to the everyday commuter. It teaches us all to look a bit closer.”

The York station that passengers are now familiar with was built in 1877, just 36 years after the original.

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It was at the time" an architectural marvel", says the museum, and, with 13 platforms, the largest in the world.

York railway station in 1980.York railway station in 1980.
York railway station in 1980. | other

The show's presenter, Tim Dunn said: “No matter where you are in the UK, this is a great way to experience York's rich railway history, even if you can't travel right now.

"I visit York regularly to experience the rich history of the railways that are in the area - including the National Railway Museum - who were incredibly helpful to us in filming this series for Yesterday. We hope everyone enjoys the episode and can see what an important role York has had to play in the history of the railways.”

Mr Dunn also visits the Ribblehead Viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales, part of the Settle-Carlisle Railway.

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He takes part in the restoration of the Midland Railway’s station at Settle and visits an original signal box.

The episode can be seen tomorrow at 8pm on Yesterday or on catch-up through UKTV Play.

Presenter Tim Dunn will be online to answer viewer questions during the broadcast.