Hi, I am Higson (Higgy to my pals), and as soon as we heard that Dad and Uncle Gerry were planning to go and visit the North Yorkshire Moors, I knew that my Railway Bear pals and I would be going along, as the most important day of their holiday would be spent on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, of which I am proud to be a member.

While Dad and Uncle Gerry had breakfast in the dining room, ours was served in the room, making sure that we were well fortified, as it promised to be a long day. It was to be a Big Kids and Bears outing, well at least as far as Uncle Gerry was concerned. About 09:15 we drove the short distance to Goathland Station.

As we jumped out of the car, Chuffer called out, "look over there, those are the old coal drops"

"Oh yes ", I replied. "The wagon has been placed to indicate how they worked. They came in loaded, then a door opened in the floor to allow the coal to drop into the hoppers below, from which the coalman would collect and bag it for delivery to his customers."

Climbed the steps to the booking office, where Uncle Gerry bought his ticket - All Day Pickering to Whitby Rover - £21. Because I am a member however my Dad's ticket was half price. Bears travel for free. Uncle Gerry went off to take some pictures of the station, including the first of us too. Here we are sitting on a trolley by some milk churns.

This will be the first of a few pictures where we make an appearance, so I had better introduce us all - So, from left to right -

Dale - member of the Wensleydale Railway, Yorkshire
Scooter - member of the Bluebell Railway, West Sussex
Higson - member of North Yorkshire Moors Railway
Dunstan - member of Aln Valley Railway, Northumberland
Chuffer - member of Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway, Yorkshire

It is of great credit to all the volunteers who keep this station, and indeed all the other stations on the line, so neat, tidy and well maintained. Here is a general view of Goathland Station, looking north towards Grosmont.

And the building on the up platform.

Meanwhile Dad had been chatting to the gentleman manning the booking office, about the railway. Bridge 30 came up, and he kindly mentioned that Uncle Gerry had sent on behalf of us, a donation. The appeal to replace this bridge and restore one of the locomotives was still ongoing the target being £1m. The bridge replacement had been completed, vital, as otherwise it would have cut the railway in two.

We were in a period of extreme dry weather, with the result that there was serious risk of fire in Newtondale. To guard against this as much as possible, the timetable had been altered slightly, to accommodate the need to run diesel only between Levisham and Goathland. Far from detracting, this added an extra dimension to our day with the additional locomotive movements associated with the diesel engines.

We were to depart at 09:45 (the first running from Pickering), but it was delayed about 15 minutes.

Suddenly we heard a whistle, and Scooter called out, "its coming".

Sure enough the train arrived hauled by LMS 2-8-0 53809, tender first.

We climbed aboard, Dad getting a table seat for four, and we immediately settled ourselves on the table looking out of the window, a position we were to occupy on most of the trains during our journeys. During the day we were noticed and pointed out by quite a number of people walking along the platforms at the stations. Uncle Gerry loved it! Dad tried his best to look unconcerned and aloof. He is so very tolerant and understanding! Soon the whistle blew, and we were off on the run down through Beck Hole to Grosmont. We crossed Bridge 30, taking special note of the work that had been done on the replacement, the first of four crossings today.

At Grosmont there was a wait while the locomotive was changed to Southern Region Schools Class 4-4-0 30926 Repton. Here is a close-up of its nameplate

Grosmont is the northern limit of the NYMR, but the organisation now runs trains on the Northern Rail line, along the valley of the River Esk through Sleights and Ruswarp to Whitby.

Scooter and I had travelled on the railway a long time ago, but none of us had been along the line to Whitby, so we were all looking forward to this with eager anticipation. It was a charming ride with the River Esk for company for a good portion of the journey the line crossing it a number of times. Finally, with it to the right we approached Whitby, with good views up to the Abbey ruins. The station only has a single line so there is not any provision for running locomotives round. To comply with Network Rail's rules everyone had to get off, while the train ran out of the station to perform this manoeuvre.

We were quite happy about this as we were able to explore the station. It allowed Uncle Gerry take some pictures too.

Dale said, "our visit to the station needs to be recorded, so lets sit on this seat here for our picture".

Looking out over the town we could see St Mary's Church on the cliffs, situated next to the ruins of the Abbey. This is the parish church of Whitby combining a fortress-like exterior fit for the stormy North Sea weather, with a warm charming interior. The oldest parts, primarily the tower and basic structure, are Norman and date from around 1110. The interior is mostly 18th-century and contains one of the most complete sets of pre-Victorian furnishings in England

Meanwhile the passengers were waiting patiently on the station platform for the train to run in again. Workmen were busy planting flower beds, where once there was a second rail line.

Boarding we grabbed a seat and settled looking out of the window. Just a few minutes late about 11.05 we made the return journey. Soon after leaving and running along by the River Esk we passed under the mightily impressive Esk Viaduct.

Passing slowly through Sleights station, my pals and I could not help thinking how poorly maintained it is compared to NYMR stations, but as we all agreed it must be extremely low priority on Network Rail's agenda.

So, soon we arrived in Grosmont once again. Here we returned onto NYMR metals, while the main Network Rail line curves to the right, under a footbridge to Northern Rail's platform.

Repton was then taken off and is seen here backing into platform 4,

our train now hauled for the onward journey by class 24 diesel D5061. Here it waits in platform 3 for the signal, before running out and on to our train.

While Uncle Gerry had been rushing around taking these pictures, the train had filled up completely, Dad having to defend his seat. On time at 11:45 we departed, passing Beck Hole and crossing Bridge 30 again to arrive in Goathland. Here nearly everyone got off. We were rather amazed, but then such is the attraction of the Heartbeat television series, where Goathland is the village of Aidensfield.

"When you analyse it, there is not that much to see", remarked Dad.

"I agree", replied Uncle Gerry. "After about 20 minutes, I would be ready to leave."

Still, we were actually quite happy as it made for a quieter journey south to Levisham and Pickering. We had all brought our respective membership cards, so we hopped down off the table and arranged ourselves on the seat with them.

Leaving Goathland on time, the train continued south through beautiful Newtondale, the thickly wooded valley sides climbing steeply on each side. The request stop of Newtondale Halt is in this valley. Enchanting!

"STAG would have the time of their lives walking with Dad through here", said Scooter.

"They sure would", agreed Chuffer, laughingly.

Peering ahead as the line curved, Dunstan exclaimed, "we are now running double headed."

"The second diesel must have been attached at Goathland", Dale replied.

"That will make a good shot", I remarked.

Soon we were running out of Newtondale and arriving at the next stop, the pretty station of Levisham. This shot shows the signal box and booking office buildings.

Dad chatted to the guard, and he confirmed that the second diesel engine, class 25 D7628 named Sybilla (this engine was originally built by Beyer Peacock in Manchester and entered service in October 1965 being finally withdrawn by British Rail in 1987), had headed the train from Goathland. The guard, a real diesel fan, was enjoying the fact that they were operating the trains through this area. D7628 was detached here to join the back of the 12.15 from Pickering, so that the steam locomotive 53809 hauling that train could do as little work as possible through Newtondale. Here Uncle Gerry captures its arrival.

So, leaving on time at 12:45, with just D5061 hauling us, we travelled onwards, to arrive at Pickering the southern terminus of the line. Here the station is framed by the overbridge.

Alighting, we sat with Dad and Uncle Gerry a few minutes while the crowds on the platform thinned out. The work being carried out to the buildings on the right are in relation to the so called 'Train of Thought' learning and visitor centre. This will enable visitors to learn more about the history and influence that the railway has made to the area. The other exciting project that is scheduled to start soon here, is the reinstatement of its overall roof. Perhaps if we we come next year we will be able to come and see it. Dad, and in particular Uncle Gerry, with all his dashing about at the stations, were hungry, so lunch was their priority and where better than to go to the Refreshment Room on the station. Here they each had a substantially filled bacon and sausage roll and shared a bowl of chips. All being washed down with tea. Dad said it was excellent and very tasty. The cafe was spotless and nicely appointed.

"Will you take our picture please", I asked Uncle Gerry.

"Of course", he replied.

So we dashed off and settled on a seat. As he was taking it a gentleman passing by said, "great photo".

On the fencing nearby, were these old signs from yesteryear.

This done a visit to the shop was next. Scooter and I had badges from our visit in September 1993. "It would be nice if our other pals could have badges too", I said.

Uncle Gerry replied, "that is why I want to go in the shop, and I intend to get a new badge for all five of you."

"Thanks very much", said Scooter and I in unison.

They were soon found and purchased. Very smart too, with a picture of a train hauled by A4 Pacific 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley. Uncle Gerry set about putting them on, getting three done before he was interrupted by the arrival of our train, hauled by LMS 45407. Here Dad can be seen taking video.

The engine was then run round to the other end of the train and can be seen backing gently to the carriages. I think that may well be the fireman standing on the right, having been for cups of tea for him and the driver.

With Dad and Uncle Gerry, we then boarded and sat waiting for the train to depart on our return journey at 14:45. The coach was a corridor type and we had a compartment to ourselves.

Uncle Gerry was not idle during the wait as he finished putting our badges on. "Thanks", I said on everyone's behalf, once done.

We stopped at Levisham, where diesel D7628 was attached to the rear to push us to Goathland, so that 45407 did as little work as possible in Newtondale. No one boarded our coach at Levisham or Goathland, as the platforms are short and we were not in the station. D7628 was detached at Goathland. As we approached Goathland we passed 30926 Repton, heading the rake of coaches that would form the 16.15 service to Whitby. It can be seen beyond the road bridge. Note the water column on the left.

As we waited Goathland became even busier, with the arrival of the 15:30 Grosmont to Pickering service, hauled by D5061. We departed at 15:50 for the 15 minute journey to Grosmont, where the service terminated. There was now about a 35 minute wait for the return train to Goathland, so Uncle Gerry made the most of the time.

"We have not had our picture taken here", I said.

"Right, sit on that seat over there, and I will soon rectify that", replied Uncle Gerry.

This was noticed by a guard who said, "this looks interesting."

So Uncle Gerry explained about us being members of different Heritage railways. He also told him that we had contributed to Bridge 30.

He replied, "thanks for that", and went on to say, "what a great idea it was to bring the bears along. "

The coach behind us in the picture, is one of the set of Pullman Cars, used on fine dining trains. It is called Opal.

The sun was hot now, so Dad sought the shade on a seat on platform 2. We stayed with him, while Uncle Gerry went off to photograph the Northern Rail service arriving from Whitby. Here the passengers hurry round for the connecting NYMR service.

Just a minute later Repton pulled in with NYMR service to Whitby, from Goathland. Then we went over to platform 3 to board our train. There had been a tannoy announcement that said it was departing in just a couple of minutes and Dad was getting concerned.

Uncle Gerry however replied laughingly, "it's not going anywhere, there's no engine attached!"

This shortly arrived being class 31 diesel 31128 named Charybdis.

In Greek mythology, Charybdis was a sea monster, once a beautiful naiad and the daughter of Poseidon and Gaia. She takes form as a huge bladder of a creature whose face was all mouth and whose arms and legs were flippers, swallowing huge amounts of water three times a day before belching them back out again, creating whirlpools.

As the whole train would not fit into the platform at Goathland, we boarded at the rear to ensure that we could safely alight on arrival. On time at 16:40 we departed, and the locomotive can be seen here working hard,

to then soon cross Bridge 30 for the fourth time.

Just a few minutes later we arrived in Goathland at the conclusion of a wonderful day.

"Come on Dad", called out Dunstan, "if we sit on that seat over there will you take our final picture to prove we have arrived".

Almost immediately the 16:00 service from Pickering arrived, and Uncle Gerry raced up on to the bridge to take this picture, just as it was departing to Grosmont.

Sitting in the shade under a seat on the platform was the 15 years old station cat, whose name unsurprisingly was Thomas.

Once the trains had departed, Dad and Uncle Gerry carefully crossed the lines to get to the car park. The land rises steeply behind the station and a flight of wooden reinforced steps carries the public footpath up the bank and out onto the moor. A gate allows access to the steps, on which is this interestingly worded sign.

So, tired little Teddy Bears, we returned to the hotel, to tell our other pals all about our day. It had been quite magical, and we can tell you that we all slept very soundly. Dad and Uncle Gerry had, like us, enjoyed every minute. Uncle Gerry said he had had the time of his life, and had not enjoyed a day so much for a long long time.

To find our much more about the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, click this link to their website - www.nymr.co.uk


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