A project which will almost double the amount of visitors arriving in Whitby by train finally got underway this week.
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway has announced that work has begun on reopening the second platform at Whitby Station.
The platform is part of a £2m scheme of investment at the heritage railway and general manager Philip Benham said that a lot of hard work has taken place behind the scenes to allow the project to progress.
“We are delighted that construction of the second platform at Whitby Station has finally commenced,” added Mr Benham. “Once the additional platform is complete at Whitby Station, this will enable us to increase the number of NYMR trains servings Whitby to cater for the growing popularity of its visitors to travel to and from the resort by heritage steam trains.”
Construction Marine Ltd has been appointed as the principle contractor for the work, which began at the platform on Monday.
The scheme is being supported by a £1.1m grant from the Round one of Government’s Coastal Communities Fund, and £850,000 from Network Rail.
Mark Tarry is area director for Network Rail and he said: “This development is great news for passengers, allowing more services to run to Whitby.
“We are pleased to be working with NYMR to see that the work is completed with minimum possible disruption.”
When the platform opens this summer it will allow an increase from three to five the number of NYMR trains arriving in Whitby each day.
The heritage railway claims these extra passengers should provide a boost to the local economy, a sentiment echoed by Alan Williams, chairman of the Esk Valley Community Rail Partnership.
He said: “This is an important further stage in the improvement of train services to Whitby that the community needs. The new second platform will provide greater capacity and we will continue to press North Yorkshire County Council to support additional services on the Esk Valley line, both for students and commuters wishing to get to Middlesbrough and to serve the new James Cook Hospital station which opens in April.”
The NYMR carries more passengers than any other steam heritage railway in the world and contributes over £30 million to the economy each year.
This scheme is expected to generate around 70 jobs locally and benefit the economy by around a further £6.5m yearly.