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Micklefield is situated where the Leeds & Selby Railway, opened in 1834, crosses the Great North Road (the former A1).  In 1869 the North Eastern Railway opened a link line from here to Church Fenton, on the former York & North Midland Railway main line from Normanton to York. Coupled with a new link across Leed itself, this provided a much shorter and quicker route from York to Leeds than had hitherto been available.

The present A1 crosses the railway close to the junction, east of the station, while the old Great North Road passes west of the station through an original underbridge. Its decidedly flat elliptical arch is a classic example of the work of James Walker (1781-1862) who originally engineered the line (see Garforth).

The original A1 bridge seen from the south in 1973, with the concrete lamp standards of the eastbound platform visible through the railings, Each post bore a classic British Railways 'totem' enamelled iron station name sign.

Trains stopped here from the outset but it was only in January 1835 that a contract was let to build a dwelling and a warehouse, both designed by George Smith, Walker's resident engineer. Both were located on the north side of the railway, which runs at the level of their upper floors, and the warehouse retains much of its original appearance despite having been adapted as a dwelling..

The former Micklefield warehouse in 1973. Immediately to the left is the station house, reconstructed in 1873.

The warehouse is a two-storey brick building with a road entrance on the ground floor and rail access originally at the upper level, where there was a crane. It would have been served by a stub track running into the building and reached via a turnplate. The 3-bay north (road) and south (rail) elevations appear to have been symmetrical originally, with the central bay of each projecting forward slightly to frame the road and rail entrances. The ground-floor windows on the road side were protected by handsome cast-iron grilles, one of which survived into the 1990s but has since been removed. Probably in 1873, two-thirds of the upper floor were adapted to provide an office and waiting room for the passenger station. This entailed the insertion of tall sash windows into the middle and eastern bays of the building with a large new goods doorway into the western bay of the rail frontage. Micklefield, which grew as a colliery village, evidently had little need of warehousing but goods and mineral facilities were provided by a couple of sidings in a yard to the east of the station.

  Micklefield warehouse   based on a measured   survey made in   1973.


 A 1996 view, showing the  warehouse (left) and the  station house as rebuilt  by the NER (right). Both  have a further floor below  track level.

An 1841 survey reports the station house as being of rough-cast brick with a stone-tiled roof and having two rooms downstairs and two upstairs, the latter on a level with the railway. In appearance, therefore, it must have echoed the ones at Garforth and South Milford but with the main block running parallel to the track, on account of the railway being on an embankment. The 6-inch Ordnance Survey, engraved in 1850, shows two successive buildings to the east of the warehouse but relating them to the structures which we see today requires a leap of imagination. The present buildings are a 3-storey station house, continued eastward by a 2-storey dwelling with significantly lower room heights. It is tempting to associate the original station house with the latter building. However, that, with its exposed brickwork and gauged brick lintels, appears to be an early extension to the original station which preserves for us no more than a sense of the height and depth of the 1835 building. The L&S station house was reconstructed by the North Eastern Railway in 1873 to give us the present 3-storey building.

 Road frontage, showing the  former warehouse (right), the  1873 incarnation of the station  house (centre) and an earlier  house, evidently conceived as  an extension to the original  station.


 The 1879 station  buildings, designed  by the NER  Architect's office  under William Bell  (demolished).


Even with the 1873 improvements, Micklefield station was not terribly satisfactory, and, following complaints from the locals, a contract for a new station was let at the end of July 1879. New platforms were built and road access was provided from the Great North Road up to a new office building on the south side of the line. It made sense to have the booking office there, on the Leeds platform, the most popular one for departures. A brick waiting shed was built on the other (eastbound) platform, and the rooms within the east end of the warehouse were taken into the station house.

In modern times, the simplification of facilities at Micklefield has meant the loss of the NER offices and waiting shed in favour of platform shelters. The footbridge has also been removed, it being unlikely that many people would be rushing to change between east and west-bound trains here. The platforms, therefore, have separate, level access from the original (north) and later (south) approach roads. The station house retains its 1873 character but the warehouse has been made into a separate dwelling, its historic character somewhat compromised by a modernisation of the windows.

A mile west of Micklefield, the railway is crossed by the A656 on another of James Walker's classic masonry overbridges (see Garforth). The road at that point follows a Roman alignment. Although the span is wide enough for four lines, the cutting to the west was made for two, with a view to opening out if and when additional tracks became necessary.

Half a mile further west still (at OS Grid Ref SE 422 329) is a farm overbridge opposite Sturton Grange, which displays the exemplary workmanship which Walker obtained from his contractors.








© W. Fawcett, 2011