|Road:||A1 Leeming Lane near Ripon|
(Google Maps link)
|Previous operators:||Station Supreme, Malthurst|
|Grid reference:||SE362741 (SABRE Maps)|
|Services type:||Two sites located between junctions, with no public connection between them.|
Little Chef Wiki
Rainton services was a pair of Little Chefs, until it fell victim to the A1 upgrade.
Rainton services was built in the 1970s by Station Supreme as a dual-sided service station with each side offering a filling station and the Station Supreme Cafe. The northbound café opened with a large, distinctive building with a sloping metal roof.
Station Supreme stopped trading in the 1980s, and sold the land to Happy Eater, who closed the southbound restaurant and replaced it with a new, more simple building. The filling station on the southbound side was also demolished but the filling station on the northbound side was kept.
In 1995, Trusthouse Forte chose Rainton as one of its first sites to replace Happy Eater with Little Chef, which they believed was a more accessible brand. In order to reflect the Little Chef brand, the metal roof of the northbound building was painted bright red.
In 2004, Little Chef started to reduce its market saturation. With Sinderby 10 miles down the road, the southbound restaurant that had no supporting lodge or filling station was closed. However, the new owners reversed this decision, closing Sinderby and re-opening Rainton South.
In 2006, a Coffee Tempo! café was built alongside the Little Chef on the northbound side.
In 2008, there were plans to upgrade the A1 between Dishforth and Leeming Bar to motorway which involved widening the road, causing it to consume Rainton services. For a while it looked like a new motorway service area would be built here, but plans never materialised as the owners, Malthurst, were more interested in a site near the A61.
Consequently, the southbound services were compulsory purchased as part of the roadworks, and the Little Chef here closed in late 2008/early 2009, It was demolished soon after.
In late 2009, the Little Chef, Burger King and Coffee Tempo! on the northbound side ceased trading and the main building was left boarded up. The last to go was the Texaco petrol station which closed on 3 January 2010, marking the end of Rainton services.
Rainton has since been vandalised and is slowly falling to ruin, and has been visited by a few 'Urban Explorers'. 28 Days Later hosts pictures of its state in February 2015.
In mid 2015, the former Little Chef was demolished and is now being rebuilt, however the former Texaco shop is still standing and is being vandalised quite frequently. Now rebuilt as a dealership for Renault trucks, but still clearly seen from the A1(M), although accessed from the local road network.