The beginning …
The line between Spofforth and Harrogate was opened unceremoniously on 20th July 1848. The building of the line was not without incident. It was reported that with the large number of workmen engaged on the construction of the line, poaching and drunkenness had become so common that in Spofforth nine special constables were sworn in to help the regular force.
The first time-table shows five trains a day between Harrogate and Spofforth. Trains were frequently late, causing the Harrogate Advertiser to comment in September 1849 that either the trains be made to conform to the time-table or the time-table conform to the trains!
Spofforth was the only intermediate station between Wetherby and Harrogate with trains such as the 09.15am Llandudno to Newcastle passing through on Saturday 27th July in 1963 hauled by class V2 2-6-2 No 60885.
… and the end
The line was closed on 6th January 1964 being the first line in Yorkshire to close under the Beeching plan. At the enquiry to close the line the previous June, there had been only 22 objections.
and the future...
The disused railway line between Spofforth and Wetherby is now a public footpath and cycle path that begins in Spofforth at the bottom of East Park Road and ends at various points in Wetherby. Part of the National Cycle Network, this well-surfaced, level and traffic-free railpath runs from Spofforth into Wetherby. After negotiating some roads in Wetherby centre you soon on railpath again, heading east to the attractive village of Thorp Arch. There are plans to extend the route east to Tadcaster, crossing the Wharfe on a former viaduct - should be spectacular!