York and North Midland Railway (1845 – 1854)

With the absorption of the W&P into the Y&NM and thus into George Hudson’s growing empire, through rail journeys became possible from Whitby to the industrial districts of the West Riding, Hull, Manchester, Liverpool and to the capital, London, amongst many other destinations. In the opposite direction Whitby became accessible for day-trippers and holidaymakers. To encourage this traffic George Hudson formed a company to develop the West cliff area of Whitby, building roads and some hotels before work stopped at Hudson’s downfall in 1849.
With a connected national rail network the Royal Mail soon started using the railways to carry the mails. The first train from York to Whitby each morning was the mail train, a train that continued running for the best part of one hundred and twenty years.
The through route to Whitby and the coast was used by generations of people travelling for their annual holiday or on day trips from the West Riding and elsewhere.

As early as 1849 the Y&NM employed 46 people between Rillington and Whitby with an annual pay bill of £2,068/2/- (around £121,049 or an average of £2,631.50 each, at today’s prices).

There are many structures remaining from the rebuilding of the line by the York and North Midland Railway between 1845 and 1849. Not all are now in NYMR ownership, many of the Y&NM (and later) railway cottages were sold to their tenants by both BR and the NYMR. The Y&NM under the control of railway baron George Hudson took over the W&P and converted it to a double track steam railway. This involved providing stations, engine sheds, goods sheds, crossing keepers and labourers cottages, new wider bridges and a new tunnel at Grosmont.

Most of George Hudson’s railways, including the Y&NMR, used the well known York architect George Townsend Andrews . His larger railway commissions included York Old Station, Hull Paragon Station (and hotel) and the original Gateshead station. On the Whitby – Malton line he was responsible for medium sized overall roofed stations at Malton, Rillington Junction, and Pickering with a larger double span overall roofed station at Whitby. Small country stations were erected at Low Marishes, Marishes Road, Kirby, Levisham, Incline Top (Goathland), Grosmont, Ruswarp and Sleights. Crossing Keepers or labourers cottages were built at many locations including Black Bull, Haygate Lane, Mill Lane, Newbridge, Farwath, Moorgates, Goathland and Ruswarp. Goods Sheds and Engine Sheds were built at Malton, Pickering and Whitby, with smaller Engine Sheds at both ends of the Incline (Beckhole & Incline Top).

A railway gas works was built at Pickering, which not only supplied the railways needs but also street lighting in the town. Eventually a private gas company was promoted in Pickering and when they had completed their own, rail served, gas works the railway gas works was decommissioned and in 1892 converted into a grain warehouse. This listed building still stands, to the south of Pickering station – having served as a tyre depot, a café and currently a ladies hairdresser . It is probably one of the oldest railway built gas works buildings still in existence.

The Y&NM also replaced the W&P’s water balance method of working the Beckhole Incline with stationary steam engine haulage. This engine was replaced (at least once) by the NER but after the closure of the Incline the engine was removed and the engine house demolished; leaving virtually no trace today.

Civil Engineering structures are generally not architect designed although the later tunnel at Grosmont and possibly the adjacent river bridge whilst generally attributed to John Cass Birkenshaw, may have been influenced by Andrews. The Y&NM also replaced (possibly widened and strengthened) the many W&P wooden bridges, for the most part in timber (according to evidence from O.S maps).

There were features that have since been lost, such as ‘Pickering viaduct’ – location unknown, which appears in NERMinute books as being converted to an embankment.