On right track for Whitby tourism boost

As the first steam train of the day rolled into Whitby today it brought with it more than a carriage load of day trippers.

The long-awaited opening of the second platform and brand new time-table signals an increase in the number of trains arriving each day.

It will in turn lead to a boost for tourism and the local economy say rail bosses.

The project has been two years in the making since the North Yorkshire Moors Railway agreed with Network Rail to develop the services on the heritage line.

It has cost over £1 million to implement the second platform which sees an increase of three to five NYMR trains a day to and from Whitby.

There is also the potential for extra excursion trains to visit the town.

The service will be launched to the public as of tomorrow following successful tests earlier this week which saw 400 passengers arrive and depart again.

Philip Benham, NYMR managing director said, “It brings about the conclusion of a project that has taken almost two years since it was first agreed with Network Rail and much longer behind the scenes in terms of NYMR’s planning.

“We are now the first and only heritage railway to have embarked on such a large scale project with Network Rail.”

Friday’s arrival of the No. 45428 Eric Treacy and No. 61264 masquerading as classmate No. 61034 Chiru meant it was also the first time in 50 years that two steam locomotives had sat side by side in Whitby Station.

The Chiru was used to mark the 60th anniversary of the last train between Whitby and Stockton being hauled by this engine on 13th June 1954.

Mr Benham added: “We are delighted we are now in a position increase the number of NYMR trains serving Whitby to cater for the growing popularity of visitors to travel to and from the resort by heritage steam trains.

“This project and the support we have received, reflects great confidence in the importance of NYMR to the local tourist economy.”

The money which made the project possible came from round one of the Government’s Coastal Communities and a further funding of £850,000 from Network Rail.

Installation of the platform has been a complex 24/7 operation which included a new signalling system, modifications to the electrical layout and power supply as well as construction of the platform itself.