National Lottery funding safeguards the future of world-famous visitor attraction and popular movie location, North Yorkshire Moors Railway

North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s ambitious ‘Yorkshire’s Magnificent Journey’ project will start this spring thanks to a £4.4m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The 180-year-old North Yorkshire Moor Railway (NYMR) runs along 24 miles of steep inclines, remote landscapes and breath-taking vistas, carrying over 300,000 visitors every year. A popular film location, NYMR has featured in many award-winning movies including Phantom Thread starring Daniel Day Lewis. One of NYMR’s most magical features is Goathland Station, which doubled as Hogsmeade Station in the first Harry Potter film. 

The DSP, part of Endemol Shine UK, documentary ‘The Yorkshire Steam Railway: All Aboard’ was watched by more than 3.5 million last year. Series Two airs on Channel 5 on Friday 17 May, at 8pm. Scheduled to run for six weeks, the documentary will go behind the scenes meeting the staff and volunteers that keep the railway on track. 

NYMR’s ambitious ‘Yorkshire’s Magnificent Journey’ project is dedicated to preserving the railway for future generations.  The work will take around five years to be completed, during which time the railway will remain open for its daily services as advertised. 

NYMR is a registered charity which provides a high-quality, safe and authentic evocation of the steam age for the public, and over the past 18 months the railway has been finalising the shape of the project and raising urgent funds. The £9.7m Yorkshire’s Magnificent Journey project has also received £1.75 million from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), as well as contributions from local organisations and private donors. As a result, NYMR can now begin work to preserve the railway’s historical infrastructure and assets and improving visitor services and experiences.

The railway is an educational charitable trust providing an interactive experience for all ages. The grant will enable NYMR to invest in new opportunities for curriculum-based learning for young people as well as better accessibility from north of the National Park. The conversion of four carriages will provide greater access, tailored seating, wheelchair facilities and accessible toilets on every train.

The impact of the project is expected to be significant, with an emphasis on a volunteer development programme. This will include the recruitment of a new post to drive awareness of volunteering within the local community and a new volunteer centre, where families can be accommodated. This is essential to the development of the current junior volunteer scheme and the long-term recruitment of volunteers. New training opportunities will also include a line side conservation programme and the recruitment of 12 apprentices.

A major part of the project is the preservation of the railway for future generations to enjoy this includes the renewal of Goathland Station bridges, with three iron bridge spans being replaced. A new carriage stable close to Pickering Station is also being built, which will enable the charity to store and house its historic vehicles, preserving them for the future.

John Bailey, NYMR Trust Chairman, said: “This is just incredible news – and I am so proud of everyone at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway who has worked so hard to achieve this amazing success. We’d like to thank the National Lottery Heritage Fund, RPA and the York, North York and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership who have made this possible.

“The project is the result of two years of careful planning – with staff and volunteers shaping the seven projects. We couldn’t do this without the help and support of local people – and are so grateful for the donations we have already received.

“These are exciting times for everyone who cares for the railway, our visitors, supporters, staff and volunteers. This is the most ambitious project we’ve ever undertaken and will build on our successful growth in recent years, so we can all achieve even more in the future.”

With a combination of donations and grants, the railway has raised 90% of the funds to deliver the project. However, NYMR still needs to raise an additional £1 million over the next five years to be able to complete the project. For further information and to donate visit

RPA Chief Executive Paul Caldwell said:

“I am delighted that we have been able to support this project to protect this important slice of history in the North Yorkshire landscape.

“The funding will help to safeguard the cultural significance of the railway. With 27,500 new visitors to the area expected by 2024, it will also provide a boost to the local economy as a renewed appreciation for its landscape and heritage.”

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is an award-winning charitable trust that carries 300,000 passengers every year. It is Britain’s most popular heritage railway and is one of the best visitor attractions in the North East. 

The NYMR trust relies heavily on donations and the work of its many volunteers. The 180-year old railway already invests around £1 million annually but there’s only so much the fare box can generate and much more is needed for the railway bridges and its 50-100-year-old vehicles to remain viable.



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