North Yorkshire Moors Railway

5 May 2007

A focus of these couple of days in Yorkshire had been planned as the LNER Festival on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway; by the time we arrived, it had morphed into the East Coast Main Line Festival, but it still promised to be a pleasant day out, though the weather wasn't up to the standards set by the Lake District recently.

The 1015 waits at Pickering ready for the 18-mile journey across the North York Moors (notice the subtle difference in name between the railway and the national park) to Grosmont. The press of people waiting to buy tickets meant that it made a late getaway.

Our train pulls up the slope towards the middle of the line

The line was one of the earliest built: following a meeting in 1831, George Stephenson reported on the building of a line to cover the 24 miles from Pickering to Whitby. It took advantage of the natural route across the moors, this deep valley which now makes for a scenically very attractive journey.

At Grosmont, we gain a different locomotive, now reversing towards the carriages.

60007 Sir Nigel Gresley

The locomotive is an A4 Pacific, designed by the LNER's Chief Mechanical Engineer and being the 100th of its type, named in honour of him in 1937.

The train coasts downhill on the journey south

George and Stephen were the only passengers to disembark at Newton Dale Halt, from where a series of walks are promoted. We planned to take a fell-top walk, looking down on the railway, and George is keen to be on his way.

A look back up to the railway halt as we walk alongside the stream at the bottom of the dale.

It was a steepish climb out of the dale, but this is not something we've encountered on a country walk before (though the ladder by the River Deben comes second).

As we ascended, a train travels north through Newton Dale Halt.

We reach the edge of the summit plateau

In fact, there are two levels, but this lower level is perfect for looking down on the railway, and we followed its edge for some kilometres to the south.

Looking down into Newtondale

A train from Grosmont coasts downhill through Newtondale

Eventually we reached Skelton Tower, from where there is probably the best view of the railway

After a few minutes wait, we are rewarded with the sounds of a locomotive pulling up the hill, and eventually glimpses of steam show that it is not far away

And here is Sir Nigel Gresley, pulling a train north towards Grosmont. Sadly with the good camera having died in Coniston Water, these photographs are not as good as I would like, but you get the idea.

We then continued south, passing quite a few cattle, some very young.

George stops for a breather, perhaps working out which way to go having studied the signpost.

After a steep descent down the road, we reached Levisham station, where we had a half-hour wait for the next train from the north, which here approaches the station, with the signalman waiting to collect the section token.

We then waited for the train from the south to come into the station, clearing the way for our run south back to Pickering.


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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson