Rail development sparked fears for future of town

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In 1865 the Grand National Hunt was run at Wetherby, and in that year Henry Crossley, founder and proprietor of the Wetherby News bought what was later to be known as the Raby Park Estate which was said to be practically going a-begging at that time.

The story was told in 1907 in the Jubilee Souvenir of the Wetherby News:

Henry Crossley had an idea at that time that the North-Eastern Railway Company would be bound to cut through the estate in the event of their making railway communication with Leeds; the property abounds with stone and lime, and the lapse of a few years saw his prophecy fulfilled, for the line was laid out, and the Bill brought before the House of Commons.

The Company, finding some opposition from the landed gentry, attempted to withdraw the Bill, but Mr Crossley, through his solicitor (the late Mr Coates), opposed the withdrawal of the Bill, and in the House of Commons was laughed at when he stated that it would pay from the first week.

Ultimately the House ordered the line to be proceeded with, and although the Company have done everything they can, through not providing a sufficient train service, to diminish the receipts of the line, it has been a great success.

He held that if the line was doubled and fast trains run to and from Leeds, Wetherby would become a great suburb of Leeds, and perhaps the North-Eastern before long will see their way to run expresses. On the completion of the line his advice was often sought by railway men, and he erected the residences which stand so pleasantly in Raby Park.