Under steam at Grosmont Station, NYMR
Under steam at Grosmont Station, NYMR

This popular steam railway runs regular journeys of 18 miles through the North York Moors National Park from Pickering to Grosmont.

History

The NYMR traces its origins back to 1832, when the Whitby and Pickering Railway was launched to encourage trade and passenger traffic to Whitby, which was suffering a downturn in trade. The railway was intended to carry coal, limestone, timber, and stone, as well as passengers.

The earliest reminder of the W&P railway is the tunnel at Grosmont, possibly built by railroad pioneer George Stephenson. The Whitby line was later absorbed into the York and North Midland Railway, part of George Hudson's growing railway empire, and later became part of the North Eastern Railway.

When rail travel was nationalised in the 20th century the North York Moors line became part of British Rail. Modernising spelled the end of the line, as diesel replaced steam and cost-cutting measures eventually brought operation to an end in 1965.

Pulling into Goathland station
Pulling into Goathland station

It did not take long before railroad enthusiasts came out in force to promote using the old Pickering to Grosmont part of the Whitby line for members-only steam train journeys. By the 21st century the NYMR had grown to employ 85 full-time staff and dozens of volunteer members and had become one of the most popular steam railways in Britain.

The NYMR travels through wonderful scenery aboard authentic wood-panelled steam trains. See the engine turntable at Grosmont and the George Stephenson tunnel, built in 1835, at Goathland, the setting for the popular 'Heartbeat' television series.

Goathland station also served as Hogsmeade station in the first instalment of the Harry Potter films, and if you are old enough to recall the All Creatures Great and Small TV series you'll recognise it as Darrowby station.

At Levisham station you can visit the NYMR artist in resident as he - or she - works. The terminus is Pickering, with its restored 1847 station, just a short walk from historic Pickering Castle.

Goathland Station
Goathland Station

The railway is extremely popular with visitors to the North York Moors, so it is a good idea to book your journey ahead during the summer months. If you simply want to watch the steam trains pulling into and out of a station, our family can recommend both Grosmont and Goathland. The latter has the advantage of a footbridge directly over the rail line, and when the train is coming into the station the footbridge is often packed with people ready to capture the moment with their cameras.

On the other hand, Grosmont has a wealth of railway-related things to see, including the NYMR workshops and sidings with several old engines and railway carriages to see. You can often get a look at staff hard at work restoring engines in the workshops, and there is a small shop selling railway memorabilia and souvenirs. The workshops can be reached via a well-signposted walk from the station that takes you through the Victorian tunnels.