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Tracking the past of former Kirkbymoorside railway station
Members of the Kirkbymoorside History Group, from left, Robin Butler, Rita Gibson, Ann Wilson, Louise Mudd, Chris Boddy, Ed Denney and Judy Barker
THE history of a Ryedale railway station has been revisited in a new book – 50 years since it closed.
Kirkbymoorside History Group has helped retired scientist Dr Sue Oldfield publish a book about her grandfather, James Herbert Dobson, station master at the town’s train station.
Among the family papers that Sue inherited were various documents of local interest and about the railway, along with draft of articles that Herbert had written and talks that he had given.
These, together with additional research that Sue has carried out, form the basis of her book, “Becoming a Goldbraid: Tales Of Rural Railway Life”, named after the fictional station master John Goldbraid, whom Herbert created.
The book is divided into four sections, starting with a biography of Herbert Dobson. Although he was born in the West Riding, Herbert first came to Kirkbymoorside as a young railway clerk during the First World War.
He became very fond of the town, made it his home for about 30 years and soon became well-known character, taking an active part in many aspects of public life in the town.
Herbert had a keen sense of humour and this chapter includes descriptions of railway life, in his own words, seen from his humorous perspective.
The remaining sections are the collections of Herbert’s writings. Among these is a collection of articles, written between 1918 and 1928, about the fictitious station master John Goldbraid, which was published in railway company magazines of the time.
The last two chapters contain some of Herbert’s verses describing life in Kirkbymoorside and on the railway.
Sue said: “Reading these stories gives a real sense of life back then and the scrapes they got into at work.”
Kirkbymoorside station opened in 1874 with link from Helmsley to the town. By 1875 the link between Kirkbymoorside and Pickering was finished.
The last passenger train ran on January 31, 1953, to Pickering. The station closed on August 10, 1964.
Louise Mudd, from the history group, said it had been good working with Sue to bring this chapter of Kirkbymoorside’s history back to life.
“So many people were disappointed when the last remaining station building was demolished when the site was sold for redevelopment,” she said. “The station was a real focal point for the town. We have even lost the name of Railway Street.
“At least this book preserves some stories from a man who lived and worked there. Even if the building has gone, his stories and experiences remain.”
Becoming a Goldbraid: Tales Of Rural Railway Life, priced £12, will be available from March in local shops – Something Special and Children in Distress – or through Kirkbymoorside History Group by phoning 01751 431272.