Indulge yourself – take a nostalgic trip on this wonderful heritage steam railway. Step back in time, mix with the hundreds of excited visitors. Speak with one of the approachable volunteers, who will happily regale their knowledge, passion and experiences, from walking the platforms to safely helping passengers to embark and disembark, whilst proudly dressed in their traditional uniforms.
To describe the excitement from seeing the first trail of steam to hearing the whistle, as the approaching engine and carriages appear around the corner, is palpable. Its contagious, from the young to the old. A special treat for 2023 is an unlimited annual pass ticket costing just £40 and kids to travel free this year.
There are four heritage stations along with their engine sheds, in which they maintain and conserve the locomotives and their rolling stock. The line begins at Pickering and ends at Whitby, with magical wizardry stations in-between.
Pickering with its 1930’s themed station, boasts a gift shop, museum and traditional railway tea room.
Levisham is styled in the 1912’s, with weekends, bank holidays and special events seeing the opening of the Weighbridge Tea Hut.
Newtondale Halt is a request stop, so let the guard know if you want to disembark, here you will discover the quiet and magnificent woodland.
Goathland, with its stunning 1922 style buildings and converted goods shed into a café. This is the celebrity station which became Hogsmeade in the first Harry Potter film and also featured as Aidensfield in the ITV series Heartbeat. The village is a few minutes’ walk from the station, with its range of shops, pubs and cafes. Whilst there we had a lovely lunch of soup, toasted sandwich and scone, at the Moors Coffee Shop & Gifts – well recommended.
Mallyan Spout, Goathland
After our lovely lunch, we decided to walk off our food before venturing back on the train. To the side of the Mallyan Spout Hotel you will find a walkway leading to the steep, rocky descent down to the wooded valley floor. Sturdy walking boots are recommended, as when wet the rocks can be treacherous. Even hubby with his size 12 feet struggled slightly. Reaching the beautiful, serene tree lined gorge was stunning. The three-mile circular route, taking you to the waters of Beck Hole, before returning along part of the track bed of the original Whitby to Pickering railway line. This is a walk for nature nuts.
Sadly, we only had time to explore the tumbling waterfall. To reach this, you will need to clamber over large boulders, taking you through the deep ravine, whose sides were cut over thousands of years, and are 70ft high and almost vertical. The only sound to be heard was from the clear water bubbling past on its journey towards greater things. I’ll admit, I chickened out when I saw the size of the boulders, instead sitting on a bench, waited for hubby to capture the view with his camera! A pleasant way to spend an hour, and I wasn’t looking forward to the journey back none, but we stopped for a welcome cup of tea in the hotel garden at the top.
Grosmont and its 1952 themed station is home to the operating and engineering world of the NYMR, with its engine sheds that service and restore the steam and diesel locomotives.
Whitby – the end of the line – so much to see and do in this bustling town.
Along all the train tracks, you will discover many walks, with a linear railway line ramble from Goathland to Grosmont. Be prepared to wave to the many bystanders along the routes.
The NYMR is a non-profit charitable organisation which has gone from one volunteer in 1967, when a small group of local people formed the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Preservation Society, to over 550 now. To build their funds, you can now visit the Pullman Dining Carriage, to accommodation that is ideally suited and situated as a base for walking and family holidays or rail enthusiasts. There are two camping coaches at Levisham and Goathland and the station house at Grosmont is available for holiday rent. From March to November, for up to 18 guests you can charter the opulent Great Western Saloon carriage, ideal for business and personal events.
We decided to travel from Pickering to Goathland on the 12am train, car parking space is to the side of the station and the first area on the right costs £6 for the day, tickets and money taken by a friendly lady and her even friendlier German shepherd and his stack of tennis balls, whilst the car park to the left costs £5 for the day, although this was full when we visited. The train ticket cost us £15 per person return. The service starts from the end of March and finishes at the end of October. The carriages are clean, with tables available, and the seats were surprisingly springy.
To travel along this heritage railway has been a privilege, a fantastic day and a truly tremendous experience. Thank you to all the staff, including the many wonderful volunteers, at the NYMR. Be sure to check the timetable before you go.
Opposite Pickering station we stumbled across Elizabeth Bothams Tea Rooms (Park Street), treat yourself to lunch or just coffee and cake as we did. This beautiful olde world tea room greets you with its lovely staff, finding all the ladies dressed in 50’s style dresses, wonderful yummy cakes, lovely food and good prices. Excellent.