North Yorkshire Moors Railway Trust

The Charity's Purposes are:

(a) The education of people of all backgrounds through the operation of a living museum demonstrating the impact of the coal-powered steam railway as a catalyst for the rapid expansion of the Industrial Revolution and a foundation of modern societies and economies. 

(b) The advancement of heritage by the preservation and operation for the public benefit of the historical railway line across the North York Moors between Grosmont and Pickering, North Yorkshire including the preservation, conservation, maintenance, repair and demonstration of: 

  • (i) heritage locomotives and rolling stock; 
  • (ii) heritage railway buildings, bridges and other historic railway structures; 
  • (iii) heritage signalling systems; and 
  • (iv) railway archives historical records and artefacts and the operation of heritage steam and diesel trains over the railway and other third party owned or controlled lines. 

(c) The advancement of citizenship, community development and individual wellbeing for all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities through the promotion of volunteering, learning and training including training and development in at-risk heritage skills. 

(d) The advancement of conservation of the flora, fauna and species within the Charity's lineside estate, adjacent to and within the North York Moors National Park, including designated areas of special scientific interest forming part of the estate. 

Statement of Significance

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is a preserved historic railway stretching for 18 miles through the heart of the North York Moors National Park, from Pickering via Levisham, Newton Dale and Goathland to Grosmont, with a further 6 mile extension over Network Rail’s Esk Valley line to Whitby and occasionally Battersby. It is the largest preserved heritage railway in the UK in terms of route mileage operated and passenger numbers.

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is locally, regionally and nationally significant due to its historic, scientific, aesthetic, cultural and social values.

Scientific Value

In the process of conserving and restoring steam locomotives, heritage diesels, railways infrastructure, Permanent Way and signalling, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway preserves and passes on the specialist skills and knowledge of traditional railway practice.  The coming of the railways saw amazing engineering innovation transforming the way people and goods moved around, and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway was at the heart of these new developments as one of the earliest lines in the North of England.

Aesthetic Value

The stations of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway are restored to reflect different periods of the railway’s history.  Pickering station, by architect G T Andrews, is presented as it would have looked in 1937 during LNER days, Levisham as a 1912 NER country station, Goathland as a 1922 station in the final year of NER and Grosmont in the style of British Railways, North Eastern Region, in 1952.  The Railway’s historical atmosphere has ensured that it has made many appearances on film and television, and is a popular subject for artists and photographers.

The Railway travels through the beautiful and varied scenery of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, which includes a number of SSSIs, the stunning geological formation of Newtondale and the nature reserve of Fen Bog.

Cultural Value

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is a vast repository of skills, knowledge and enthusiasm associated with the railways. A strong culture of steam and heritage diesel nostalgia pervades the Railway, and the restored stations evoke for the visitor a sense of stepping back in time and a chance to take part in a moving image of our past.  The Railway both celebrates and commemorates the history of railways and its involvement in the life of the local community.

It is an outstanding representation of an historic railway, and provides an exceptional example of balancing conservation and authenticity concerns with continuing use of its sites and resources.

Social Value

The Railway runs popular themed events such as Railway in Wartime, Steam Galas and Santa Specials, and carries the largest number of passengers of the UK’s preserved railways. It is estimated that the Railway generates an estimated £30 million annually to the region’s tourist economy, and has been the recipient of many awards. Additionally, it is one of the largest employers in the area, and plays a positive role in keeping several hundred cars off the National Park roads in the height of the summer holiday season.

 Image Courtesy: Matthew Ditch