The North Yorkshire Moors Railway Welsh themed Gala, was a huge success with revenue from passenger fares up 15%, with the star of the show being the narrow-gauge locomotive Britomart.

Britomart, from the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway, ran through the famous foot tunnel at Grosmont connecting the village to the Motive Power Depot. This tunnel is part of the original Whitby to Pickering railway and has never had a steam locomotive pass through it in its 184-year history. When Britomart pulled its first train through the tunnel during the gala it was the first train to pass through in 171 years.

The Motive Power Depot laid a temporary track through the 119-metre-long foot tunnel at Grosmont, which involved over 300 work hours of preparation for the gala. The narrow-gauge engine had over 3,000 passengers over the three-day event which was free to travel on and experience when you travelled along the main 18-mile heritage line.

Chris Price, General Manager at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, said: “The gala has been a huge success due to the hard work and commitment of the volunteers and staff across the line. The second of the railway’s themed galas has been well received and the variety of locomotives on show has attracted a wide variety of visitors.”

The tunnel is believed to be one of the world’s earliest passenger railway tunnels. Built between 1833 and 1835 by George Stephenson as part of the Whitby to Pickering Railway, the first carriages to run through the tunnel were horse-drawn and only carried up to 10 passengers.

Guest engines making up the Welsh line-up over the gala weekend included locomotive 2807, a Great Western Railway heavy freight locomotive, “Standard 4” class 76084 (sister to our own engine 76079) and Great Western “Manor Class” number 7822 Foxcote Manor which is synonymous with Cambrian and Great Western lines in North Wales.

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Image Credits: Graham Staples Photography (Britomart) and Adrian Dennis (MPD Staff).