In the autumn of 1940, the year that Prime Minister Winston Churchill spoke of the many owing so much to the few, a Bradford man went to war with the London Midland Steam railway company.

In the early afternoon of Monday, October 28, bowler-hatted Ben Ivinson, a Bradford insurance broker, pulled the communication cord on the 12.38pm Bradford to Ilkley steam train in an attempt to make it halt at Esholt Station.

He was protesting against the closure of Esholt’s main line station, which had been announced on a large poster that had gone up at the beginning of the month.

Mr Ivinson was evidently a resolute man. He arranged a meeting between Esholt railway’s four pass-holders and a Mr Hooks, the Leeds-based passenger manager of the railway company.

“ was revealed the cause for closing Esholt Station was the loss of £100 a year,” Mr Ivinson said. As the wartime Government had guaranteed Britain’s private railway companies an annual subsidy of more than £43m a year, he pointed out that the LMS should have no trouble recouping such a small loss.

Mr Hooks unwisely replied that travellers should not be inconvenienced as there was a very good bus service.

Mr Ivinson wasn’t having that. “I told him it was singular an important railway official should say that residents should travel by a competitive service and gave him the answer by telling him the reason was that railway companies hold 49 per cent of the share capital of these ‘bus companies’.”

The communication cord protest failed to produce the effect Mr Ivinson wanted – the 12.38pm Bradford to Ilkley train did not halt at Esholt.

Twelve years later, on March 25, 1952, a T&A photographer took a photograph of Esholt Station. The track, just visible in the bottom right of the picture, looks in better condition than the building with its broken windows, paint-peeling boards and grass-tufted platform.