There can be no denying that facilities for crews and shed staff (both staff and volunteer) at Grosmont are very poor. There is overnight accommodation for up to ten people in the Old Post Office, and at the shed there is a unisex shower and toilet facility of very poor quality, and a poorly equipped mess room.

One aim of the Yorkshire’s Magnificent Journey project is to remove barriers to volunteering so that a new generation of volunteers can be attracted to the railway.The dismal facilities for volunteers and the lack of good quality overnight accommodation are seen as two significant barriers. It is proposed to directly address these two separate but closely related issues.

Sustainability of the NYMR requires us to attract new generations of volunteers. It is clear that our inability to meet modern (quite modest) expectations of toilet, washing and overnight accommodation standards is a failing, and one which we must address to appeal to a wider range of current and potential volunteers.This is especially true of women and family/young volunteers, and we are especially keen to build on our early successes in developing these areas.

The accommodation will be used primarily by our volunteers.Volunteers frequently visit for weekends, while some devote a week or even up to two weeks of holidays to work at Grosmont.At the moment the volunteers are predominantly male, but there is a significant and growing proportion of female footplate crews. Meanwhile our Junior volunteer programmes bring groups of teenagers, always with supervisors and sometimes with parents all of whom need accommodation.

The Proposal

Other railways have already successfully completed volunteer accommodation projects, often of the ‘hostel’ type featuring single-sex dormitories. Our proposal is for a two-storey building with the ground floor being available to all shed and works staff and volunteers.This would feature both clean and dirty areas and locker room, reception area, decent sized kitchen and dining area, living room, accessible toilet(s) with sink, bedroom, shower room, a plant/boiler room and an equipment store.All of these to be accessible for disabled staff and volunteers.

Upstairs would be given over to accommodation, in the form of individual cabin-style rooms rather than dormitories. Each would contain a single bed, wash basin and clothes hanging space, and the option of a fold-up upper bunk will be explored.

Multiple showers and toilets, each with sinks, will be provided and there may be a case for including some double-sized units for families.

The footpath between Grosmont Tunnel and the viewing area uses this route as a vehicular corridor between the tunnel end of the running shed.The rest of the site will need to be maintained, suggesting that the building will need to be separated from the running shed by at least 4m.

Given the sensitivity of the location any building we erect will have some level of architectural pretension. It is expected that the building will be a new-build, constructed in-situ and brick-faced, although construction from pre-fabricated units has been explored and several manufacturers appear to be active in this field (at least two of which are Yorkshire-based).

The budget we have for this development is £450,000, 50% of which would be provided by HLF grant. Our challenge will be to provide the maximum possible facilities for the sum available. It will be a huge investment in our future sustainability. Your donations will be crucial to making this happen.


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