As part of Yorkshire’s Magnificent Journey the Education & Archive Departments, working with Goathland station, will be helping schools, families and visitors to delve deep into the stories behind the Whitby & Pickering Railway and the history of Goathland Mill station.

The idea is to expand on what we do in the learning centre at Pickering, responding to feedback from schools that a facility at Goathland would help further tell the story of our railway, railways in general and the industry of the local area.The current lack of facilities and interpretation at Goathland Station means that visitors are often not aware of the historical significance of this station or the artefacts that they see when visiting.The installation of a station trail and interpretation coach will address this.

We plan to open an interpretation and education facility to be housed in a converted static heritage railway carriage which has already been sourced and will be converted by the Carriage & Wagon department. Once completed, the new facility will display interactive exhibits and artefacts from the NYMR archives together with interpretation focusing on the history of George Stephenson’s original horse-drawn line with its rope-hauled incline plane, the subsequent Deviation Line and the opening of Goathland Mill station in 1865.

The Whitby & Pickering Railway was built by George Stephenson, opening in 1836 as a single track using horse drawn carriages and wagons. It carried both passengers, livestock, and freight such as coal and alum across the moors, significantly changing the lives of the local community.

A section of this original line has become The Rail Trail, a popular walk between Goathland and Grosmont used by schools and walkers visiting the railway.A visit to the coach will become a must-do activity for anyone disembarking at Goathland prior to undertaking The Rail Trail or visiting the village.

The carriage will have disabled access and will house accessible toilet facilities, whilst the current award winning disabled facilities at Goathland will be moved to Levisham.

Yet the carriage is only part of the reinterpretation of Goathland. There is a wealth of historic buildings and facilities to offer visitors. Goathland station (originally Goathland Mill station) is the archetypal branch line country station; with the complete range of passenger and goods facilities, mainly dating from construction of the ‘Deviation’ in 1865. There is a great tale to tell.

An interpretive station trail will explain the story of the station, along with the function and significance of many buildings. These include the Booking Office,Waiting Room (currently being restored to its original use after about 45 years as a shop) and Goods Warehouse which now doubles up as a Tea Room. Other areas of significant historical interest include the coal and lime drops, weighbridge, cattle dock and a siding which was served by a narrow gauge tramway. 

The scene is completed by the original Signal Cabin, with a number of examples of NER signals.All this deserves to be interpreted for our visitors, as does the immense change wrought on a moorland community by the coming of the railway, with its links to the world beyond the moors.


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