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Time was when it was possible to travel to Whitby via four different railway routes, including one – the Whitby to Pickering line – that had its origins as one of the earliest passenger railways in the realm.


Three of the routes – the exception being that which ran along the cliffs northwards to Loftus and beyond – survived into the 1960s. Prior to 1923 all of these lines were operated by the North Eastern Railway and between then and 1948 it was the turn of the LNER to maintain a monopoly of the railway operation in the area.


Following Nationalisation the traditional classes employed by the NER and LNER were to disappear as the BR Standard designs were introduced and as steam gave way to diesel traction.


However, had Dr Richard Beeching had his way all three of the routes that survived into the 1960s would have closed as all were scheduled for closure in his infamous report of March 1963. In the event the line westwards to Battersby and Middlesbrough was to survive, with the lines southwards to Scarborough and to towards York via Pickering due to close. Fortunately, the section of the latter from Grosmont to Pickering was preserved and now operates as the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Serving Goathland, the preserved line has become familiar to many as a result of the filming of the Heartbeat series in and around the village.


This addition to the Unique Books paperback series on the railways of Britain portrays the railways that were built to serve Whitby in the era when they were part of British Railways and before the economics of the 1950s and 1960s saw three of these attractive and popular routes closed.


Rails Across the North York Moors


    Binding : Paperback   64 pages
    Dimensions : 200mm x 208mm landscape
    ISBN : 978 1 913555 07 8
    Words : Approx. 5,000
    Illustrations : 60  black and white
    Publication : October 2021



    A historian and industrial archaeologist by background, Michael Swift has a wide interest in transport and he has written a number of books on the subject. He first visited the Whitby area in the late 1960s on family holidays and had family connections in Goathland for many years.


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