A Brief History of Bentham Station
The railway first came to Bentham on 2nd May 1850, with the opening of the Wennington to Bentham section of the 'Little' North Western Railway between Leeds and Morecambe, via Skipton, Clapham Junction, Wennington Junction and Lancaster Green Ayre. The last part of the route, between Bentham and Clapham Junction was completed less than a month later, and trains began running on that section on 1st June 1850.
Though originally a single track route between Skipton and Morecambe, it was soon 'doubled', between Hellifield and Hornby, and both tracks through Bentham were in use by late 1850.
1890s The original 'mock tudor' station building and the old iron footbridge. (JW)
Click here to see a collection of historical photographs of the station.
The November 1850 issue of the Bradshaw's Timetable shows four trains each way on the route between Lancaster and Skipton, with one 'express' calling only at Caton, Hornby, Bentham, Settle (now Giggleswick) and Gargrave.
From 1st June 1852 the services were operated by the Midland Railway and full incorporation followed in 1871. The Midland Railway was amalgamated into the London Midland and Scottish Railway when the 'big four' railway companies were formed in 1922. When nationalisation of the railways took place in 1948 the station and services were operated by British Railways. In 1955/56 British Railways demolished the original station building and replaced it with a modern brick and concrete structure.
BR 0-6-0 locomotive passing the new station building in 1956. (DJ)
The station became unmanned in 1970 and since then tickets have been obtained on the trains. One of the rooms was used, for several years, by the Bentham Homing Pigeon Society until the building became an equipment store and canteen for local railway maintenance gangs.
In 2008, the building was renovated with funds from North Yorkshire County Council and became home to the 'Little Red Bus' company.
Today, the trains which call at Bentham are operated by Northern Rail, who provide services throughout the North of England. There are ten services which call at Bentham, Monday to Saturday, and eight on a Sunday. Half of these services are westbound, via the Wenning and Lune Valleys, to Carnforth, Lancaster and Morecambe. The other half head eastwards, through the Wenning Valley and Airedale to Skipton, Keighley and Leeds.