Full steam ahead on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway's Seaside Special

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The North East is arguably an undiscovered national gem with a stunning coastline and scenic countryside conveniently nestled next to each other.

Yet every now and then it is worth travelling further afield to see what the neighbours have to offer.

Like countless tourist attractions, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) has grappled with Covid closures and reduced timetables following the pandemic two years ago.

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But it is literally full steam ahead once more following the launch of its new season of steam and diesel services last month.

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway runs between Pickering and Whitby.The North Yorkshire Moors Railway runs between Pickering and Whitby.
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway runs between Pickering and Whitby.

Based in the charming market town of Pickering, the heritage railway runs two daily Seaside Specials to and from bustling Whitby (also known as the Yorkshire Express if your starting point is on the coast).

If fish and chips are not your thing or you are struggling for time then the Moors Explorer allows you to enjoy a series of shorter journeys between the two towns.

Stopping off points include Goathland, which doubled as Aidensfield in ITV police drama Heartbeat as well as Hogsmeade Station in the Harry Potter movie series, and Grosmont, where train enthusiasts can visit the railway’s engine sheds.

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We decided to go the full Hog (apologies) and make the 24-mile journey from Pickering to Whitby and back.

Inside the Great Western Saloon.Inside the Great Western Saloon.
Inside the Great Western Saloon.

The relaxing trip takes an hour and 45 minutes with an array of scenery and wildlife wallpapering your view.

Shimmering streams, static sheep, pecking pheasants and wondrous waterfalls.

You just never know what is coming next and so fret not if you have neglected to bring any reading material with you.

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Whitby itself, if you haven’t visited since the pandemic, is still brimming with chippies, ice cream kiosks, independent shops and, yes, seagulls.

The scenic journey passes a host of beauty spots with a variety of wildlife also visible.The scenic journey passes a host of beauty spots with a variety of wildlife also visible.
The scenic journey passes a host of beauty spots with a variety of wildlife also visible.

The imposing 11th Century abbey, of course, has not disappeared either and the three-hour turnaround time between train journeys allows ample opportunity to climb its famed 199 steps (preferably before your fish lunch).

Tongues loosened on our trip home as we swapped satisfied stories with the family sat opposite.

The party’s youngest member, aged no more than four and already a member of the railway, eagerly told us about a forthcoming visit to see the Mallard, the world’s fast steam locomotive, in York.

He even knew the name of its creator, Sir Nigel Gresley.

Full steam ahead for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in 2022.Full steam ahead for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in 2022.
Full steam ahead for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in 2022.

The future of the past seems assured already.

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The NYMR runs daily services between Pickering and Whitby until October 30 (prices from £20.50 for children and £41 for adults) with shorter journeys available to and from Levisham, Newtondale, Goathland and Grosmont stations.

A series of Pullman dining trains and special events are also worth considering.

A word of warning if you are travelling to Pickering from the North East by car.

The sat nav woman directed me along the A171 road towards Whitby before turning me right along the admittedly picturesque A169 Sleights and Pickering road.

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As our return journey proved, it seems quicker taking the A172 towards Stokesley and joining the equally scenic B1257 towards Helmsley before picking up the A170 for Pickering.

Make allowance too for anyone with you who isn’t too mobile.

While there is a long-stay car park at the station, it can get full at peak periods with the nearest alternative around 10 minutes walk away.

Further NYMR details are available at www.nymr.co.uk or by telephoning (01751) 472508.