Catterick Camp Military line remembered in stone

Word and pictures by Maurice Burns

ON December 11, a railway-themed memorial was unveiled at the Catterick Military Camp near Richmond in North Yorkshire marking a century since the end of hostilities in the First World War.

The memorial is unusual in that it is a North Eastern Railway Class J72 0-6-0T identical to the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group’s No. 69023 Joem, made to scale in stone by A D Calvert Architectural Stone Supplies Ltd of Leyburn.

The locomotive has been positioned on the route of the former military railway which served the camp as a sub-branch of the NER Leyburn branch and which was unusual in that it ran through a road roundabout.

The last steam train over the Catterick Military Railway crosses the River Swale hauled by K1 No. 62005, still in BR service, on the ‘Three Dales Railtour’ on May 20, 1967.

The stone J72 will stand in memoriam for the tens of thousands of soldiers who disembarked from trains at the camp before entering training for the trenches during the First World War.

The Catterick Camp Military Railway was built in 1915 and remarkably still retained ownership of its branch as a company in its own right after the formation of the LNER at the Grouping in 1923 and BR in 1948 until closure and lifting of the line in 1970.

On September 15, 1917, a set of carriages ran away from the camp station and were derailed. One coach ended up in the field and four members of the Royal Scots Fusiliers were killed on impact.

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