At the beginning of the 1920s residents of Slingsby were able to avail themselves of a rather sparse, four trains each way service between Gilling and Malton. The North Eastern Railway provided Slingsby with a significant array, given its country station status, of different types of tickets for the Station Master, George E. Wood, and his staff to issue to passengers. Pre-printed tickets to all the local stations between Malton-Gilling-Husthwaite Gate and Gilling-Helmsley-Pickering were available, as well as a variety of blank tickets where the destination was filled in by hand and details recorded. There were also tickets for bicycles and prams.
With the gradual decline of passenger revenue, steps were taken to withdraw some of the pre-printed tickets that were hardly ever used by Slingsby, from December 1922. Not surprisingly these were to Ampleforth (station one and a half miles from the village and need to change at Gilling), Coxwold (need to change at Gilling), Husthwaite Gate (station half a mile from the village and need to change at Gilling), Nunnington (station a mile from the village and need to change at Gilling), Kirbymoorside (need to change at Gilling or alternatively change at Malton and Pickering), Pickering (need to change at Malton) and Thirsk (station a mile and a half from the town and need to change at Gilling and Alne). Any passengers to these destinations would subsequently have had to be issued with a Slingsby to blank ticket.
The advent of a much more convenient bus service through The Street villages, running parallel to the railway, spelt the end of the local passenger rail service, which came to pass from the 1st January 1931. Consequently, virtually all of Slingsby’s ticket stock was withdrawn later that month, by which time the post of Station Master had been withdrawn with supervision provided from Gilling.
However, it was recognised there was a need to continue with ticketing facilities for the yearly excursions to Scarborough. Whilst for each excursion specially printed tickets were produced by Crewe, for those who enjoyed privilege facilities, which was a quarter rate of the normal return fare, such as wives, children of serving railwaymen and retired staff, a stock of single and return Slingsby to/from blank tickets were retained. Fred Wright, porter-signalman at Slingsby from 1942 until the 1964 closure, had to remember, when faced with a request for a privilege return to Scarborough, to fill in the destination and the fare, endorse the ticket ‘Priv’, stamp it with a W if it was for a female, endorse it ‘child’ where appropriate, and date it, as well as recording the transaction. . Clearly Fred hoped that such passengers didn’t leave it until the last minute to book as by then he would have been busy operating the token instrument, shutting the level crossing gates and clearing the signal.
Another facility available at Slingsby right up until closure was for the conveyance of accompanied bicycles, prams and dogs, known as Zones. These were based on mileage bands, and with Slingsby being some 28 miles from Scarborough by rail, the ticket first introduced in May 1957, covered the 25-30 miles band.
The other, somewhat bizarre, ticket Slingsby retained was for car parking, as did neighbours Hovingham Spa, Barton-le-Street and Amotherby. The North Eastern Railway provided a set of ten tickets for these four stations in the 1920’s, and must have been confident of them being used by the end of that decade because the only space left on the ticket to be filled in was the last digit i.e. 192-. Reality was entirely different. Six months before the complete closure of the line in August 1964 (Amotherby in October 1964) Hovingham Spa had sold just two, one for a motor bike in 1963 and the other to me as an enthusiast Slingsby didn’t sell any at all, likewise Amotherby, whilst Barton-le-Street sold one – to me.
Finally, Slingsby’s parent station, Gilling must have held one of the largest stock of different types of tickets in the country (no less than 72) for a station where there was no regular passenger service. The reason for this was the six trains a year departing from Gilling (three to London King’s Cross, three to Leeds) conveying Ampleforth College students at the end of each term. Gilling also had a facility to book passengers from York.
Originally printed in the February/March 2018 issue of the Triangle Newsletter