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The North Yorkshire Moors Railway (Paperback)

Colour Books Transport > Trains & Railways World History > UK & Ireland > England > Yorkshire & Humberside

By Michael Vanns
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Series: Heritage Railway Guide
Pages: 112
ISBN: 9781399077248
Published: 11th January 2023


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This fantastic guide traces the history of, arguably, the most popular heritage railway in Britain from the origins of the line in the 1830s through the good, bad and controversial times, up to the present day.

Every year since 1973, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) has transported hundreds of thousands of visitors in preserved steam and diesel-hauled trains between Pickering and Grosmont through an ancient landscape of unmatched beauty. When those trains started to run regularly to and from Whitby in 2007, it revived a service started by the Whitby & Pickering Railway Company back in 1836.

The history of the NYMR is a fascinating one that will do well to be remembered. This book explores the journey, development and changes of the NYMR and is a fantastic guide to how the railway industry has changed over time.

Published under the Heritage Railway Guide series, this is an updated version of that first published in 2017. The early history of the line built in 1836 by the Whitby and Pickering Railway is covered in some detail as is the time up to complete closure by British Railways on July 2nd 1966. This section is very well illustrated with many images previously unpublished.

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway Preservation Society was formed in November 1967 with the aim of initially purchasing all the trackbed, but only the rails between Grosmont and Ellerbeck. The track between Ellerbeck and Pickering was acquired in 1969 with the help of North Riding Council and the National Parks Committee creating what was at the time the longest preserved railway in the country. The line was officially opened by the Duchess of Kent on May 1st 1973 and the rest, as they say, is history. The many developments, including the building of facilities for the LNER Coach Association and the new roof at Pickering, are well covered. The final ‘extension’ to Whitby was formally agreed in 2007 and from April 3rd through services commenced. This part of the book is lavishly illustrated almost entirely in colour with most of the photographs being taken by the author and therefore not seen before.

The quality of production is well up to normal standards and the colour images are of a high standard. An excellent production which would serve as an excellent souvenir for anyone having travelled on the line as well as an incentive to visit for those who haven’t yet done so. Highly recommended.

The LNER Society Newsletter - Winter 2023

"This book is a little cracker! I am confident to recommend it to all and think even NYMR aficionados will think it a worthy addition to their book case."

York Model Engineers Newsletter - September 2023

"This is a useful and informative guide which well fulfills its aim."

The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society - The Railway Observer, June 2023, Volume 93, Number 1132

As featured in

Your Local Link Magazine

Michael Vanns manages to pack a lot of useful information into the narratives alongside a large number of interesting pictures. Roughly half of each book is devoted to the historical development, up to the time when both were closed by British Railways in the 1960s. The remaining pages cover the period from re-opening as preserved railways through to the present day where they have become major tourist attractions in their regions.

Friends of the National Railway Museum

The author does a first class job of capturing the essence of the line, paying tribute to all those involved, and there are many great images included of the line in its North Eastern Railway and BR Periods alongside the variety offered by today's magnificent NYMR.

Best of British, December 2017 - reviewed by David Brown

A work of cultural interest enlivened with a chosen collection of photographs.

Read the complete Spanish review here.

José Manuél Rico Cortés (Mister JM) - Miniaturas JM

About Michael Vanns

Michael Vanns was born in Newark-on-Trent in 1956. After studying history and history of art at Leicester University, and a short spell at Tamworth Castle Museum, Michael joined the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust in 1978. He remained there until 2009, working on a variety of projects starting with the Elton Collection which examined the Industrial Revolution through contemporary prints, drawings and books. He is the author of ‘Witness to Change: A Record of the Industrial Revolution’, an appreciation of the Elton Collection published in 2003. He was involved in museum education and in a number of large Heritage Lottery funded projects, including the refurbishment of the country’s best preserved Victorian decorative tileworks, and the recreation of a small town Victorian street. For both these projects he was responsible for designing the displays and, in the case of the latter, the choice of buildings that were to be reconstructed.

During his career he has also written and had published 13 books, all but two on railway subjects. These include a number of works on British railway signalling as well as ‘The Railways of Newark-on-Trent’ (Oakwood), ‘Rail Centres: Nottingham’ (Ian Allan) and ‘Severn Valley Railway: a View from the Past’ (Ian Allan).

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