As part of the #LoveYourRailway Summer Campaign, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Learning Department have come up with the Top 10 Things to See and Do this Summer along the line.

This summer, whichever station you visit, there’s history to be found round every corner...

No. 1 - Find the Signal Box in Pickering

Pickering South Signal Box

Peek into the signal box on Platform 2 to discover the hidden world of the remote signalman. For him, there were hours between trains and so there was lots of time to fill. Come and discover how each day and season brought new experiences through the entries made by the Signalmen to the Goathland Summit Cabin Book during wartime.

Goathland Summit Signal Box

This small wooden signal box originally stood at Marishes Road on the line between Pickering and Malton. It was rescued by volunteers from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in 1969 and rebuilt here in 2012-13. Although it has been fitted out as a working signal box, it is now used for explaining and demonstrating the techniques of railway signalling and to give insight into the life of the signalman on a country branch-line.

No. 2 - Visit a Historic Dining Car in the Atkins Shed in Pickering

Steam, Speed & Sumptuous Dining

If you are visiting the station on a Sunday why not pop into the Atkins Shed, and see a historic World War 1 LNER dining car being restored?

Complete with original on-board pantry, steward's quarters and an exquisite clerestory roof to let in light, the beautiful third class ECJS189 was the crowning glory of the East Coast Joint Stock- a fleet of passenger railway coaches jointly owned by the Great Northern Railway, the North Eastern Railway (NER) and the North British Railway. This was one of just four coaches designed by the celebrated NER employee, Scotsman David Bain CBE back in 1894, when the East Coast Joint Stock Company requested that dining facilities be made on express trains from London to Scotland.
On July 24th 1894 the first of his new dining trains left London Kings Cross at 14.30 and at the same time the opposite train left Edinburgh Waverley. It was followed by a train containing press & photographers to cover the story of the new train service. Lunch was 3 shillings & 6d for those in First Class, and 2 shillings & 6d for third class passengers in this actual dining car!

The Dining Car can be found in the Atkins Shed, the large green building in the Station car park (which is at the end of platform 2).Open Sundays only.

No. 3 - Witness the 'theatre' of the single-track token in Levisham

Signalman, Walter Artley, in 1939 holding the token pouch (NYMR Collection) & Trainee Signalman, David Marden, in 2021

Levisham Station is a great place for getting up close to the signal box and watching the signalman carry out the historic duty of passing the “single line entry token” to the driver.

A section of track between Levisham and Goathland was taken up during WW1 and has never been replaced, meaning that only one train can pass on that section of track at a time. So on arriving at Levisham Station the driver must wait for the signalman to leave his cabin and hand him the token – this is his authorisation to enter the single line… as there is only one staff or token there can only be one train on the single line at one time.

Platform 2 is also a great place to watch the signals and the level crossing gates in action. Windows either side of the signal box mean you can get a sneaky peek at the signalman operating the levers!

No. 4 - Look out for the Goods Warehouse in Goathland

Head into the tearoom by the Station Master’s house and you’ll be transported back in time to the days when the place was a busy Goods Warehouse.

The coming of the railways meant that small villages like Goathland could import and export goods to and from all around the country and, if they came by rail, then they came through this very building.

See the crane used by porters to move heavy loads to and from the wagons - it is hand-cranked and was essential for moving heavy and bulky loads to the yard. The wagons themselves were rolled in under cover and even today you can see for yourself their size and weight - and even sit in one whilst enjoying a spot of lunch!

Peek down between the wagons and spot the rail and if you want to know where it goes, head out of the station and turn left. You’ll soon see a covered building with big storage cells underneath.

No. 5 - Discover the Coal and Lime Drops in Goathland

Discover the Coal and Lime Drops used by special wagons to deposit and store coal and lime in. The wagons were designed to simply roll into place and then release the loads straight down into the cells as their bottoms were released!

If you would like to have a closer look, go into one of the cell areas and look up to see how the wagons worked!

Station Masters often had a side-line in selling coal and would have shoveled it straight into sacks before weighing it and selling on to locals who would have used it to heat their homes. Lime was used by the farmers to fertilise their land and it needed to be kept dry so was stored in the sheltered cells.

No. 6 - Keep Moo-ving... to the Cattle Dock in Goathland

Following the line of the building, you will see a gated area at the end of the station with wooden steps up to a platform which is called the ‘Cattle Dock’ - as the railway moved livestock as well as goods and people!

Goathland’s farmers would walk their flocks down the hill to this area of the station, to load onto the train. And, although it’s called a cattle dock, generally it was sheep which were taken to market in these parts.

You can stand in this area and look out towards the water tank and it also has very good views of the tracks!

No. 7 - Travel through the Time Tunnel in Grosmont

Step back in time as your walk the full 130 yards through this original 1836 feat of engineering…George Stephenson’s tunnel. Built for the original horse-drawn line, you can almost hear the clip-clop of horse's hooves resonating inside this beautiful Grade Two listed structure.

Frederick Swanwick, assistant to the famous engineer Stephenson, was just 22 years old when he was given the task of designing the tunnel. Mind you, he got into quite a bit of trouble for the cost of the rather ornate “castle turrets”!

Once through the tunnel and back out into daylight you’ll find yourself in front of the more modern engine shed building.

No. 8 - Visit the Viewing Platform in Grosmont

Why not while away a happy hour up on the viewing platform watching our historic engines being maintained.

Which engines are they working on today?

No. 9 - Discover Whitby's station cat story

Every station traditionally has its cat - with all the grain being transported by train, stations became havens for rats, so it was in the Station Master’s (and the Porter’s!) best interest to have a station cat. The last cat to live at Whitby Station was Arthur, a black and white cat, about sixty years ago. He had a bad back leg, but he loved hunting and he kept the station free from rodents for at least ten years! When he died, he was buried in one of his favourite places near the buffers on Platform 3.

An art student working at the station at the time made a sandstone marker which you can now find on Platform 2.

Arthur the Cat’s Station Trail activity sheet can be collected from the NYMR Ticket Office at Whitby Station.

No. 10 - Find the Ground Frame at Whitby

At its busiest Whitby had 1 goods warehouse, 2 signal boxes, 4 platforms, 9 sidings and a 42 foot turntable! Head on to Platform 1 where you can still see three levers between the tracks. This is called a ground frame and is used to move the points allowing the engine to change tracks.

How to #LoveYourRailway

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