The 40th anniversary of the Selby Diversion inauguration

Forty years ago, in the summer of 1980, on 29 July, nearly two hundred people attended an auspicious inauguration ceremony at Hambleton near Selby to commemorate building the first new railway in Britain for 125mph (200kmph) operation, British Rail’s Selby Diversion.

Photo British Rail

The new 23km double-track railway was to divert the East Coast Main Line (ECML) between Temple Hirst south of Selby and Colton near York to avoid sterilising extensive coal reserves that lay beneath the original ECML and were planned to be extracted by the Selby Mine to fuel power stations in the locality. The trinity of the National Coal Board (NCB), British Rail and the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) could then work together to deliver the national policy for energy with the NCB producing the fuel, British Rail providing a conveyor belt of trains from th