Earlier this month, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway invited RailAdvent to take a trip from Pickering to Whitby to see how their rail operations are going after the latest coronavirus lockdown.
We started our day in Pickering, we were leaving at 12 noon (noon) for Whitby.
Although you had to pay for a ticket at the station parking lot, it was nice to see contactless payment available.
On the way to the station, we were greeted by station hosts, who were all masked, and asked if we had a ticket, which we did, and they directed us how to get to the station.
Here is also the first of my NHS COVID Track and Trace QR Codes, these are everywhere for you to scan, helping you keep track of where you have visited on the railroad.
Going down the wheelchair-friendly path we come to the station, and right next to the entrance is hand sanitizer and another QR code, as well as signs reminding visitors what we need to do to stay in safety (mask to wear, social distancing, etc.). These were clear to see and often enough that we weren’t crowding around a sign.
Our locomotive for our trip to Whitby was LMS Black 5 # 44871, which had recently arrived on loan from Riley and Son in Bury.
It was nice to see everyone at the station and on the trains wearing masks, it’s rare to see everyone wearing masks when they need them, but it was great to see.
As they passed the train platform, photos were taken by visitors and other QR codes were affixed to the walls to ensure that anyone can scan.
The disinfection points scattered around the station meant there was plenty to do.
It was great to see all the staff following the same procedures as well. All had masks, all kept their distance, making sure everyone was safe.
In the heritage carriage, tickets at hand, a toot from the guard and a whistle from the engine, and off we went. Each passenger is assigned seats when booking, so you can be sure everyone has a seat.
Each train is wheelchair friendly, with ramps available. There is room to park wheelchairs so you can take them to Whitby for sightseeing.
Crossing the North York Moors, we passed Levisham. Again, the resort, regardless of its size, has plenty of QR codes. The great thing about these QR codes is that they are individual to the station, so you can save them all.
Leaving LÃ©visham, the buffet cart lowered the cart. Again, masks have been worn to make sure everyone is safe. Hot chocolate for us as the rain started to fall (oh and a KitKat too!).
What we also need to add is that dogs are very well received on trains, with plenty of space under the tables for them to get comfortable and take a nap while they are resting. head towards the seaside.
Goathland is the next station, where we pass the BR 9F # 92134 on the Diner, which is working again, we stop and can see the passengers enjoying some tasty food and drink – what better than good food, a amazing view and steam coming through the window.
Goathland was made famous for being Hogsmeade Station in the Harry Potter films, as well as Aidensfield Station in the Heartbeat series.
The cafe here is now reopened but was not serving a full menu at the time of our visit the next day, but the sausage rolls and cake were very good!
Much like Levisham and Pickering, Goathland has charts and QR codes to make sure everyone knows how to keep staff and visitors safe. We also found the QR codes to be large and clear making them easy to scan, no tiny pixelated pixels like some of the places we visited.
As you descend the steep Grosmont slope, past the locomotive sheds, something to feast on here, with work in progress on a number of projects. In the tunnel and in the station.
The SR 825 awaits its next departure for Pickering as the rain continues to fall.
An exchange of driver and firefighter as well as guard, a whistle, and we move onto the mainline at Whitby.
We stop briefly at Sleights and pass through Ruswarp nonstop. They don’t have NYMR QR codes as they don’t board here, but if you visit there are plenty of COVID signs from operator Northern, which also runs trains to Whitby.
With the rain bouncing back, we arrive in Whitby. A quick change of points and we enter the platform.
At Whitby, Northern and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway have separate platforms. Both sides have signs reminding people to wear masks and sanitize their hands.
The NYMR station master lined up on the platform with space for those leaving the train to pass with social distancing in place. Again, everyone follows the rules and wears a mask. Great to see.
Whitby is a seaside town with plenty of fish and chip shops and takeaways. There is a lot to see and do, but I would definitely recommend planning your day ahead so that you know what you are doing while waiting for your train, if you are in Whitby for a few hours.
To stay in line with all stations, Whitby implemented a Keep Left procedure, and everyone followed it again.
Our return trip arrived in a damp Whitby with D7628 Sybilla at the helm. A quick turn, we set off for Pickering and soon arrive in Grosmont.
Here, the locomotives are exchanged, and in Pickering, we have SR 825, 3 locomotives in one day is not bad at all!
As the rain continues to fall, we return to a hot chocolate and a KitKat for the return trip. The dog was soaked but slept as the steam passed through the window and the locomotive worked hard towards the top and back down to Pickering.
In conclusion, we found the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to work really hard to keep passengers and staff safe. Adding QR codes to each station is refreshing to see, the staff are friendly and helpful and make for a great day.
Many thanks to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway for inviting us on a trip to Whitby and we would really recommend a trip for half or any time this summer.
If you would like to book a ticket on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, please visit their website here. Tickets start at Â£ 40 for an adult or Â£ 110 for a 6 compartment.