Yorkshire's Magnificent Journey


Yorkshire’s Magnificent Journey project will start this spring 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 90% of the funds to deliver the project. However, we still need to raise an additional £1 million by 2022 to be able to complete the project.

One thread in our HLF bid is to "Develop a new focus on caring for and managing our lineside for the benefit of passengers and the environment." The lineside is an integral part of what makes our railway so special, be it the vegetation, stone walls or various structures such as retaining walls and various items of lineside ‘furniture’.

Maintaining the NYMR’s 36 miles of lineside is a never ending task that involves a number of special interests and activities. Many of the necessary tasks often relate more to land and estate management than simply working on a railway.

Vegetation is a constant problem as, when you cut it down, it grows again. Our train drivers have to see signals and other operating signs remembering that the line curvature often restricts their sighting distances.They also need to see our staff and others working on the railway track, who in turn need to see them. 

It is perhaps worth remembering that there are significant variations in our lineside along the railway which help determine what we need to do to maintain the lineside. From Pickering the main lineside activities are fencing and drainage works a theme which continues towards Levisham with the forested areas on both sides.

From Levisham the railway climbs further up into Newtondale with a changing variety of trees and vegetation. The railway traverses the Newtondale Site of Special Scientific Interest, which brings regular dialogue with Natural England.

At Fen Bog, George Stephenson ‘floated’ part of the railway on sheeps wool and heather mattresses, which causes us problems where the floating section joins up to the solid areas.

At the summit the railway is effectively on a ledge with natural rock outcrops before the line runs down to Goathland. Onwards to Grosmont the line is either in a cutting, embankment or ledge in the hillside which makes access for maintenance works somewhat difficult and sometimes almost impossible.

An essential part of traditional ballasted track, like ours, is keeping the formation well drained.To speed up the flow of water we need to remove weeds and other restrictions.We often have to use a small mechanical plant or occasionally we use weed killers distributed and spread by hand, to help keep the track and lineside in an acceptable condition.

Keeping the vegetation cut down is also essential to minimise the fire risk from steam engines.

However it is not just the lineside that determines the lineside appearance. There are the various structures such as retaining walls, the P/Way huts and signs, all essential to provide the traditional look we seek to achieve.

In summary we are committed to applying sustainable, practical and cost effective maintenance and renewal practices on the whole of the railway infrastructure.

The overall strategy is to maintain an overall ‘traditional’ appearance for the railway, where possible restoring the lineside to how it was when we took over nearly half a century ago.

The aim of this project is to build and provide more resources for the loyal team, primarily of volunteers, who focus on keeping our lineside and boundaries in good condition.With your help we will make a real contribution to conservation in the National Park and improve the views from trains for our passengers.

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