Network Rail have recently unearthed a piece of York’s history, the foundations of North Eastern Railway’s roundhouses. They date back to 1864, from the original York South MPD and are situated in the Engineers’ Triangle between York Station and Holgate Bridge. They were used to stable and service steam locomotives. It is believed the three roundhouses, which are steam engine sheds with turntables, were left abandoned back in the 1960s. The buildings were destroyed after the closure, but the foundations and turntables were simply filled and covered over.
The historic railways turntables were found during a site inspection. Network Rail were in the middle of plans to execute a new operations centre and training base in order to bring new jobs into the city of York. The route managing director for the London North Eastern route, Phil Verster, comments on the link between the historic remainders and the new plans, “This site is a great example of respecting our rail heritage whilst at the same time making exciting plans for our future.” It is hoped that the operating centre will simultaneously continue York’s rail heritage whilst encouraging further developments and interest in the area.
The new Rail Operating Centre (ROC) will be one of the largest of 14 proposed centres in Britain. The full plan for the centre has been submitted to City of York Council, and will be revealed after the decision is made in June. The centre will join services provided at different locations into a single purpose-built facility. “Plans for operating and training facilities are being developed to help us to deliver a modern, efficient railway. They will allow us to maintain York’s position as a proud rail city by retaining jobs there as well as bringing a future employment benefits which are vital for economic growth and prosperity”, stated Verster.
The site of the York’s rail history turntables will be available to view to the public on Friday 27 April between 11am and 5pm, and Saturday 28 April from 10am to 4pm. Why not go and discover more about the history of your city?