The Ghost of Haworth Station


Haworth Station


 I wrote an article on this blog some time ago about the fatal accident that happened to  Binns Bancroft at Haworth Station in 1882, when he was killed by a coal train at Haworth Station.
Was this the end of Binns Bancroft?....maybe not!

Haworth Station is part of the “Keighley and Worth Valley” line, a private steam railway organisation run by volunteer railway enthusiasts. Many of the volunteers come some distance to help and therefore stay overnight, sleeping in a spare coach in the goods yard. One summer night a volunteer decided to have a walk round the yard before turning in. The night was warm and almost windless and the yard was full of various station equipment and paraphernalia in every corner leaving shadows everywhere. As he wandered around, his eyes were drawn to something moving in a corner of the yard. Puzzled, he went forward to approach the area and saw the hazy shape of an old wizened man holding a long pole. The figure seemed solid enough, but the haze made if difficult to make out all the features. He froze to the spot, fascinated by the scene, as the area where the man stood seemed to show other features, with a background from a different period in time. The figure was moving about waving the long pole and gesturing to him to come closer, so he started to move nearer to get a better look, but as he approached the figure, it seemed to melt away. He wasn’t frightened, but more baffled and had a less than comfortable nights sleep, not able to get out of his mind the scene he had witness that night.


The next day, after telling his mates about the previous night’s mystery, a good laugh was had by all, but he could not find a logical explanation for the events and still could not get the matter out of his mind. A few days later he found himself working with an old-hand who’s father had worked for British Rail many years before, and when he recalled the sight he had witnessed the other evening, he was told: ‘Oh…that'll be old Binns Bancroft you saw….he sometimes appears, and has a look around! When he queried whether this was some sort of a joke the old-hand shook his head and said ‘Oh no…Binns Bancroft thinks he still works in the yard!’

The old-hand then told the story of how Binns Bancroft was a coal merchant in Haworth, in the 1880’s. His premises were located in the goods yard across the road from the railway station so he didn’t have far to go to pick up his coal supply. When the coal was shunted into the yard Binns was always there to help, with his shunting pole in his hand, and when the wagons had discharged their load, Binns would drive his horse and cart into the yard and load up for his local deliveries. He liked to be in the yard when the coal arrived, and would always try and direct operations for shunting the wagons, shouting and bawling instructions to the engine driver and guard. They always regarded him as a damn nuisance, who did nothing but get in the way and caused many anxious moments for them as he darted in and out between the wagons. They feared for his safety, but he was always there, waving his pole, and they could do nothing to keep him away from the station.Then one winter’s day in 1882 Binns was supervising operations at the station as usual, as the coal wagons were shunted into Haworth goods yard. He was waving his pole and bellowing instructions as usual to the guard who was trying to understand his shouts in the high wind. Binns was a little hard of hearing, so his replies to the guard and driver were also difficult to comprehend, so it was not surprising that disaster was about to strike. Binns was moving in and around the wagons when, failing to heed the warning shouts or maybe because he did not hear them, he was caught between two coal wagons and had the life crushed out of him.



Haworth Goods Yard & Shed

But this was not the only sighting. Another apparition was witnessed  a few years later,when Haworth Goods Shed was the scene of more activity from Binns Bancroft wandering around. On this occasion another railway volunteer was walking around the yard before departing to the sleeping coach for the night when he saw an unusual dim light through a window in the goods shed. Thinking it was rare to see anyone working at this late hour he went to investigate. As he entered the shed everything was quiet and still. There was a strange light coming from the corner….a soft light, almost as if it was from an oil lamp. Suddenly, the figure of a man emerged from the shadows and walked towards him, with a pole in his hand beckoning  him to come closer. Our observer was frozen to the spot and then, as suddenly as it had appeared, the figure melted away in front of his astonished eyes.


To this day, many more people swear that they have seen the ghost of Binns Bancroft, and heard his footsteps.
Others talk about unexplained 'happenings' at night in and around the goods yard and shed.

For the full story about the accident and subsequent inquest, please look at my earlier article entitled:
"Accident at Haworth Station - 1882" 

Haworth Station in the 1880's

[With acknowledgments to the book ‘Railway Ghosts and Phantoms” by WB Herbert, where some of the details for this story come from]
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