The Hull & Selby Railway opened its line to passengers on July 1st 1840. It provided Hull with a much needed connection through to Leeds, and Leeds with much quicker access to the Humber Port.

The first stop on the line was at Hessle, where there was the only major earthwork - Hessle Cutting.

Hessle Station, looking west, before the line was improved to four tracks in Edwardian times.

The Opening of the Hull and Selby Railway 1st July 1840

as reported in the Hull Advertiser, July 3rd 1840

This highly important and interesting event in the commercial history of Hull took place on Wednesday last. A general holiday was kept on the occasion – every shop and place of business, with very few exceptions, being closed. Unfortunately for the effective display announced in the early part of the week, the rain, on Wednesday morning, poured down in torrents, and continued, more or less so, during the whole forenoon, keeping many an anxious townsman and townswoman at home who had looked forward to the occasion for some time previous with a view to participating in the general joy. As it was, the starting-point of the announced procession, and its neighbourhood, were thronged with anxious spectators as the hour of staring approached. After waiting for a considerable time, and there being no appearance of the rain abating, the crowd around the Town-hall were informed that the procession had been abandoned in consequence, but that the train for Selby would depart at half-past eleven o’clock. Soon after this announcement the railway depot became crowded with parties anxious to secure convenient seats for the trip, and by the time announced most of the carriages were filled. It was, however, ten minutes past twelve before the first train started, the others following shortly after. Every part of the town and the foreshore, where a glimpse of the carriages could be obtained, was densely crowded with eager and (despite the drenching rain) happy-looking spectators. On quitting the depot, a heart-thrilling and heartfelt cheer from the crowd along the line greeted the passing trains. We must not forget to mention that at the railway depot, a select band, led by Mr. Levett, played a number of airs in a most effective manner. The band also accompanied the passengers to Selby and back, and was afterwards in attendance at the collation. Notwithstanding the unfavourable state of the weather, the number of ladies who occupied seats was not inconsiderable.

J R Pease of Hesslewood,and a Director of the Railway, recorded the event rather more briefly in his journal:

July 1st 1840 - "The Hull & Selby railroad opened, a fine afternoon, pleasant excursion and a gratifying day".

Sub Pages:

Fatal Accident, 1847

Nineteenth Century Railway Workers

Railway Accident of 1868

The Railway comes to Hessle

To navigate the sub-pages right click on the links below.