The First Railway Station
1841AD - 1877AD
A makeshift wooden railway station was built to accommodate the first trains in and out of York.
The first station proper was designed by George Townsend Andrews inside the City Walls on Toft Green and opened in 1841. The land was previously occupied by a Hospital for Poor Women, which was relocated.
The station had two platforms, one for departures and one for arrivals, sheltered by a train-shed with wrought-iron roof trusses. An archway was opened through the city walls to allow trains in and out.
Refreshment rooms were provided alongside the arrival platform. Next to the departure platform were facilities on two storeys, including a spacious booking hall and George Hudson’s boardroom.
York’s first Railway Hotel also opened in 1841 next to the station. It was bought by Sarah Scawin the following year and was known as Scawin’s Hotel long after she sold it in 1869.
In 1852 the railway company built a hotel on the station site and in 1854 it was named the Royal Station Hotel after Queen Victoria had lunched there on her way by train to her Scottish estate at Balmoral Castle.
There was a limit to what could be achieved on so small a site and soon railway traffic had outgrown York’s small station. The city had become a bottleneck on the line and a new station was needed. Although Parliament granted permission in 1866 it would take another 11 years to be built.