The Station was built in 1875, as part of
Contract no. 3 for the construction of the Settle - Carlisle Railway by the
Midland Railway Company.
The line was split into four contracts, no.3 being from Kirkby Stephen, at the head of the Eden Valley, to Newbiggin half-way to Carlisle. The earliest photographs we have were two taken around the turn of the (19th) century, one taken from the bank behind the adjacent road, and the other from the northbound (or "down" - i.e. away from London) platform. They were numbered "Westmorland 30" and "Westmorland no.5" by the unknown photographer.
You can see the original lamp
standards, the white vertical paling fence (later the Midland Railway
standardised on diagonal palings), a "LIPTON'S TEA" hoarding and the
original "LONG MARTON" station sign. A chap from Sunderland popped
into the Station one day (in 1993/4/5 perhaps), told me he had one of the
"LONG MARTON" signs and would drop it off next time he was in the
Fool that I am, I didn't ask for his name or 'phone no. and he never returned.
There were three standard designs for all station buildings on the Settle - Carlisle, unsurprisingly known as Small, Medium (or Intermediate) and Large. Long Marton is now the only Intermediate station on Contract no.3 (there was one at Crosby Garrett just north of Kirkby Stephen until it was demolished in 1948). As such it is unique, because it is the only one on the whole line built of brick as well as stone (as is Appleby, but Appleby is one of the three Large buildings on the line) and there are detail differences between Contract no.3 buildings and the other Contracts, e.g. the ridge tiles, gutters and diagonal door panels. For more information read "Stations and Structures of the Settle - Carlisle Railway" when you stay at Long Marton!
The track layout above shows Bridge 254 as the bridge over the road next to the Station, and we found part of the original bridge plate near it during the course of our restoration of the site, along with parts of an original MR cast iron notice plate.
Below is a Ground Plan of the Station. The Ladies Waiting Room is now your lounge, the Porters Room the dining room, the Lamp Room the Kitchen and the Lobby/W.C. the Bathroom. Upstairs (which didn't exist before) are the two bedrooms. The main Waiting Hall, Station Masters Office etc. are still undergoing restoration and I promise to be very quiet while I am doing it!
The Station didn't close until 1970, and below are a two black and white shots and one colour shot taken before closure. The colour shot must have been taken early in 1970, as you can just make out the closure notice on the main platform door.
After closure the building rapidly fell into a very sorry state, as the pictures below show.
One detail you can pick out is the rectangular hole in the right-hand gable wall, near the top right corner of the window, and the circular line around it, where the clock face used to be. I spent many months trying to find out what happened to the clock, eventually discovering that it and others from the Settle - Carlisle were sold to a Mr. Don Crossley who ran an antiques shop in Dent, now the Stone Close restaurant. Its owners found out from neighbours that he moved to Richmond but died some years ago. His shop records did not survive, so there the trail went cold. However, in the course of my search I visited the National Railway Museum and after ploughing through their clock records found a "Census of Clocks" from 31st January 1969 which listed Long Marton's as a 14" clock with 2 faces, numbered 17803. If you know where it is, please ring me! (see Appleby's, which is identical, below)
Also during my search, I was fortunate enough to be put in touch with Michael Potts, the grandson of the last proprietor of W. Potts & Sons of Leeds, the makers of all the Settle - Carlisle clocks, who had a similar clock which could be altered to match the original, and an identical outer face. I bought the clock, had the lettering etc. altered to match the original, and it now adorns the Station, where you can see the outer face. Michael also found for me a smaller Potts clock which now ticks away happily in the Ladies Waiting Room.
In the early hours of a Sunday
morning (no one in the village is exactly sure when), and without consulting
anyone, British Rail arrived and ripped out the platforms, taking the good stone
away and dumping the rest on site to the south of the Station building. No one
knows why, but a cynic would suggest it was to silence any talk of re-opening
the Station. Long Marton was a prime candidate for re-opening, being one of the
biggest villages on the line deprived of its Station, and it is perhaps
significant that smaller Stations, where there would not be the same demand for
re-opening, did not have their platforms removed. If anyone can shed some light
on this disgraceful affair please let me know.
In the Eighties the Station was brought back into use again, when it was leased from British Rail by the North Salford High School in Manchester, as a centre for school holiday outings etc. I am sorry to report that the lessees did much damage, throwing out the ticket hatch barrier in the Waiting Room for example (see an original at Appleby), hacking the rounded corners of the door lintels out to make them square, cladding all the walls with hideous plywood panels and painting all the woodwork brown. In addition they asphalted all the floors, trapping the skirting boards and creating the conditions in which dry rot will thrive, and it did. I believe they must have come up from Manchester one year, found the dry rot rife, and immediately surrendered the lease, prompting British Rail to put it on the market. Which is not quite where we came in. We saw the Station for the first time in the summer of 1992 when we were on a self-catering holiday at Knock, two miles away. I had always dreamed of owning a railway station, so we stopped and had a look round one day while on our way to Appleby. It appeared to be abandoned, so I made one or two 'phone calls to find out who owned it. The local parish councillor, Mary Herbert, found out his name and 'phone no., and told me that he had bought it at auction in September 1991. It seemed unlikely that anyone would want to part with only a year later, but I rang him and after some horse trading agreed on a price. So it came to pass that in March 1993 we bought a Station and I started on the restoration and conversion work. I had a Chartered Surveyor's report which stated that the property "comprises 7 rooms, all of which at present are unusable". It confirmed that the building had been badly neglected and advised:
* Total refurbishment of the roof
* Removal of all internal timber and total eradication of the dry rot
* All sash windows and barge boarding to be repaired
* New gutters and downspouts
* Total re-pointing of the exterior
And that was just for starters! All the doors would need replacing, either because they were rotten or non-original, and all the floors would have to come up, because they were uneven and covered in asphalt or concrete. We would have to put an upstairs in, which meant not only refurbishing the roof but removing the three king post trusses which supported it, obstructing upstairs rooms, and replacing them with RSJs at upstairs floor, ceiling and ridge level.
Externally the building was
hemmed in by trees (see above right) which had either been deliberately planted
or allowed to grow like weeds, cutting off the light and threatening to damage
the retaining wall over the road, the ground level was 6" too high,
bridging the original slate & pitch damp proof course (see above left), and
all the spoil from the platforms formed a 3' high mound across almost all the
land to the right of the Station in the picture below.
Note also the concrete post and wire fencing, and the rotten wooden diagonal paling fence, all of which would have to be replaced.
Ten years on, the Station has been transformed as compared with the above photo. The building is fully restored and back in its maroon and cream livery, with a "mini" platform in front, separated from the railway by an authentic MR diagonal paling fence, a lawn/garden to the left and car parking to the rear. All the trees which hemmed the building in have been removed, as has the spoil to the right in readiness for another lawn and garden in the future.
Below are some pictures of the Station as it is now.