Fresh hopes for boost to Whitby rail service

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There are fresh hopes rail travellers in Whitby may get extra services in future as a rail company this week pledged improved services following a multi-million pound boost.

The Esk Valley Railway Company, in its annual report, says the money, to be invested in the line which runs between the town and Middlesbrough, will be spent on a new station at James Cook University Hospital.

There will also be improvements to passenger facilities at three Esk Valley stations - Marton, Nunthorpe and Gypsy Lane - together with the provision of electronic timetable boards, signage upgrades, shelters, improved lighting and seating as well as CCTV installation, according to Angie Thirkill, the company’s development manager.

The £4.5 million investment was recently approved by the Government.

The community rail partnership for the Esk Line has pioneered improvements on the line which runs through the North York Moors National Park and has had four bridges replaced by Network Rail in the past few months.

“Despite having only four return services a day, passenger numbers have grown by more than 72 per cent in the past decade, “ said Ms Thirkill.

She added: “Looking ahead our top priority is to deliver an early morning and late evening service for commuters.”

Whitby is to get a second platform to enable more flexible use of the town’s railway station by the public transport diesel services, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s heritage services and other charter train operators.

Ms Thirkill said: “We are working towards a better, more frequent service for the community in our area - a service that takes into account their needs for improved access to further education, employment, health and leisure opportunities.”

The line carries hundreds of people every week from Whitby and the Esk Valley villages, including Sleights, Glaisdale, Castleton, to schools, colleges and their offices.