Yorkshire's Magnificent Journey


The Yorkshire’s Magnificent Journey project has commenced thanks to a £4.4m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The £10m project has also received £1.75 million from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), as well as contributions from local organisations and private donors. With a combination of donations and grants, the railway has raised a majority of the funds to deliver the project. However, we still have a final push for the last £300,000 to be able to complete the project.

We aim to help schools, families and other visitors to delve deeper into the fascinating stories behind the railway and the history of Goathland Station.

Our learning and archive teams are busy working with Headland Design to create an exciting interpretative station trail and immersive guards van exhibition at Goathland for schools and families. It will explore the story of our country railway through the people who worked it.

The Guards Van, a neglected Gresley BGP Coach E7054E passenger brake van fitted with pigeon carrier shelves and designed in 1943, has been carefully restored to preserve elements of its historic past. The new exhibition will complement these original features and help young visitors to have a more experiential visit to the van where they will discover the history and significance of the country railway in our remote and rural setting.

The Whitby & Pickering Railway was built by George Stephenson, opening in 1836 as a single track using horse drawn carriages and wagons, bringing with it an influx of navvies, miners and railwaymen, jobs for life on the railway, and the growth of industries such as whinstone and iron ore mining. It carried passengers, livestock, and freight such as iron ore, coal and alum across the moors, significantly changing the lives and infrastructure of this tiny, remote moorland community.

A section of this original line has become The Rail Trail, a popular walk between Goathland and Grosmont. A visit to the Guards Van will enhance this activity where the old horse drawn railway with its rope hauled incline will also be interpreted alongside plans for the faster steam deviation line.

There are also a wealth of historic buildings and facilities to engage with at Goathland. 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 from the Deviation, along with the function and significance of many buildings of historical interest. The voices of former station masters, alongside Goathland’s first female porter and a World War 2 evacuee living in Station House, will all contribute to the storytelling of significant buildings such as the Waiting Room, Coal and Lime Drops and the Goods Warehouse. Other areas of significant historical interest include the weighbridge, cattle dock and a siding which was served by a narrow-gauge tramway. 

Alongside the trail and exhibition we are creating new activities for Key Stage Two age groups - from signalling and communication on the railway to life as a lad porter at an NER country station in the late 1800’s to accompany visits to Goathland Station. We are also creating pop up exhibitions from the wealth of archive research we have undertaken over the past two years as part of the Yorkshire’s Magnificent Journey project.

Your support and generosity can help us achieve our goal, Yorkshire's Magnificent Journey!