Newest Review: ... what you will see out of your window. It then moves onto the history of the line itself, then the locomotives that belong to the North Yor... more
North Yorkshire Moors Railway - the whole experience
North Yorkshire Moors Railway
Member Name: claireylulu
North Yorkshire Moors Railway
Advantages: A wonderful experience at a reasonable price
----The History of the line----
The line was built in 1836 and was the Pickering to Whitby line. It had been planned by George Stephenson who later had a black five train named after him which I can proudly say I saw at the Steam Gala! The line unfortunately like many others in the country closed in 1965. It was in 1973 thanks to the North Yorkshire Moors Historical Railway trust Ltd it re-opened and has now become a large tourist attraction. Running between Pickering (where the line ends) to Grosmont and sometimes up to Whitby (where the line finishes) the line is said to be a total of eighteen miles long. The station we visited on numerous occasions during our visit was the Pickering Station and it was here we purchased a Guide Book which gave us plenty of information past and present.
----Pickering Station ----
Pickering station was the station we based ourselves at many times during our weekend away. It has been lovingly restored back to the old days. It is here unfortunately the line comes to an end. Once it used to go to Scarborough but now in the lines place is modern day life of a main road and houses. We felt the station had a lot to offer and we found ourselves on numerous occasions just sitting around the station enjoying the simplicity it had to offer. Unplanned we found ourselves there when the Autumn Steam Gala was on so my eldest son (and daddy!) were in their element. At the station there is a ticket office, a lovely traditional cafe, a large gift shop, an information centre, toilets and a lovely secluded picnic area. The station is very well kept and it is lovely to see large tubs with pretty flowers in at that time of year. The station is also home to a turntable and the carriage workshop.
We did use the cafe a couple of times buying a mug of tea and a bun. The prices I felt were very fair. As we wanted to sit on the platform our teas were but in the usually containers so we could carry them out. The cafe did look very busy and getting a table could be a bit of a struggle. It looked like a traditional tea room you would have expected to find at a station years ago.
Although the Information centre at the station is only small with large boards on the wall there is plenty to read about and there is also a small scale model of Pickering Station which both my son's loved looking at. We found there is plenty to read and you could spend a good fifteen to twenty minutes reading it all. There are a few bits for children to do but I felt ours were maybe a bit too small to appreciate it properly.
The time we enjoyed the station the most was on an evening after tea. As the nights have drawn in quickly we found viewing the station around six o'clock when it is dimly lit was fantastic. Seeing the last train come into the dimly lit station was something I would recommend anyone waiting around to see. We really loved our time at Pickering Station.
----The other stations----
Pickering Station is obviously not the only station along the line and on our trip on the train we saw the other beautiful station along the line.
Levisham is the next station you come to. Although we didn't get off the train here looking out of our window it looked lovely and quaint. In our guide book it does say it is ideal for walking and the village is about two miles away from the station platform. They do sell refreshments here too and I believe the artist Christopher Ware is based at the station.
The next station is Newton Dale Halt. The trains will not stop here a less you actually request it. There is nothing really at this stop it is mainly for serious walkers.
The station after this is Goathland and was our stop on our last visit. It will of course be well known to many people as the home of Heartbeat. The station is a stunning little place. There is a tea room, toilets and a gift shop. Also at the station is a traditional camping coach situation just off the platform for holiday rental. Stood on the platform you could just see it behind a gate and it looked very pretty. As I have mentioned Goathland is well known for the Sunday police drama Heartbeat. It is short walk from the station up to the village it's self and is worth it.
The line doesn't finish here it goes onto Grosmont station. On this recent visit we didn't go as far as Grosmont but in the past (before the boys were born) we have. Again there is a cafe, a gift shop, toilets, ticket office and a waiting room. As like all the stations along the line they have been lovingly restored back to how they would have been many years ago.
It wasn't until 2007 that the line went onto Whitby. There is a limited amount of trains that actually do go to Whitby so you should check they are running there on the particular day you intend to go. We have yet to go right through to Whitby but hopefully in the future when we return we will do so.
----Our train ride----
As I have mentioned on our recent visit we decided to take a ride out to Goathland and back. As it was the Steam Gala all the trains running that day were steam. I would highly recommend on busy days you maybe go to the station early and purchase your tickets we did this and felt a little smug when we arrived at the station fifteen minutes before and could walk through the crowds of queues. As my youngest son is only two years old we did have a pushchair. We were told we would need to go nearer the front carriages and we would find the guard carriage that held the pushchairs and wheel chairs. We expected to have to put the pushchair down but we didn't need to. The door opening was double the width and they had a ramp to put out allowing wheel chairs and pushchairs to be pushed up it. The carriage we sat in was lovely we had seats facing each other. The ride was lovely and the boys loved having the window open a little and hearing the train chug along. Hearing the train whistle as it entered and exited the station was fantastic, although to begin with it did scare my youngest a little! There is plenty of beautiful countryside to look at whilst on the train. There is just something about riding on a steam train it makes you feel all nostalgic and warm inside. Even though I wasn't born to enjoy it the first time it is wonderful I and my children can enjoy it now. The trains didn't quite run on time but then they never do these days in modern railways. I think the main reason though was the extent of the gala and how busy they were.
For about £3.50 we purchased the guide book from Pickering Station and usually I feel they are a waste of time but this one is a good read. There is plenty in the book, a total of 32 pages. The first section is great to read as you travel along the line as it explains what you will see out of your window. It then moves onto the history of the line itself, then the locomotives that belong to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and lots more. I personally really enjoyed reading the guide book.
As I have mentioned the weekend we went there was a Stream Gala on which was fantastic. We spent many an hour watching different locomotives coming into Pickering station and leaving again. There is a lot that goes into running such an event and you can see this but the staffs are still excellent too. Throughout the year there is lots going on so in future I think we will keep an eye on their website and it would maybe worth a look yourself if you happen to be in the area. There are diesel galas, railway in wartime, Santa special and much more. During the Steam Gala weekend they had numerous didn't locomotives running along the line which was heaven for thousands of train spotter. At the Steam Gala they also had the author of children's train book Christopher Vine at Pickering Station selling and signing his books. After walking past his display numerous times during the weekend on the last evening we found ourselves purchasing two books for our eldest son. He was a lovely bloke and we enjoyed talking to him.
The staff at the stations were faultless. They were all jolly and very willing to help. My fiancé took my son up the engine many a time just before it was due to leave the station and the workers were very happy to talk to him. We had a few good chats with staff members about various things the station and the trains and we found them all very enthusiastic.
Tickets can be bought from the station. We bought ours at Pickering station so I am not completely sure whether you can buy them at every station along the route. I felt the prices for a return are not too bad considering the lovely experience you have. The prices are as follows:
Pickering to Grosmont (day rover): adult £16 - child £8 - over 60's £14 and a family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) £33.
Pickering to Whitby (day rover): adult £21 - child £10.50 - over 60's £18 and a family ticket £45
Children under five are free.
A day rover allows you travel unlimited for the day. You can get on and off at each station and explore the area.
On special event days like Galas prices do increase. For us this was the only thing we were unlucky on. We therefore only purchased a return to Goathland.
There is parking at Pickering station which will set you back five pounds for all day. I didn't feel this was too bad because if you are going on the train you will probably be making a good day of it especially if you but the day rover ticket.
The railway is open from April to the end of October everyday and also weekends and selected holidays during the winter months.
I would highly recommend you spend a day at the North Yorkshire Moors railway where every you start. Of course I would recommend starting at Pickering as it is a beautiful station and the town of Pickering is also worth a good look. My two boys loved the experience of seeing real trains. A couple of months back I took my eldest son to pick his daddy up for a modern day train station and he didn't think a great deal to the trains as he was expecting Thomas the Tank engine style trains. So to see them and actually go on one in North Yorkshire was an experience he hasn't quickly forgotten. As for me and my fiancé the experience was as good as the time before if not a little better seeing our boys faces when we told them we were actually going to go on one.
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Summary: well worth a day
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