Whitby’s railway station is an imposing building that, like the line that serves it, has survived a succession of threats.
It was built in 1845 by the house architect of the York & North Midland Railway, George Townsend Andrews (1804–1855), to replace an earlier terminus for the primitive, horse-drawn Whitby & Pickering Railway, engineered by George Stephenson in 1836.
From the 1880s to the late 1950s, Whitby station served four different railway lines, the original main line to Pickering and on to York, the Esk Valley line to Middlesbrough and the two coastal lines south to Scarborough and northwards to Loftus.
Dr Beeching would have shut all four of them, but the difficulties of providing replacement buses in the Esk valley meant that the circuitous and picturesque line via Battersby remained open, even though an eccentricity of railway geography has meant that every train down the line has reversed at Battersby since 1954.
Whitby’s rail connection to the rest of the country has been tenuous for decades, and it’s still not good: there are only four trains a day to Middlesbrough, the first starting its 1¼-hour journey at 0850.
However, the enterprising North Yorkshire Moors Railway has negotiated rights over Network Rail tracks from its junction at Grosmont into Whitby, so that it’s again possible to travel by steam between Whitby and Pickering in the summer months.
And you can get a proper breakfast at the Whistlestop Café in G T Andrews’ original station building.
The bikers congregate there so it must be good.
The 72-page, A4 handbook for the 2015 Yorkshire’s Seaside Heritage tour, with text, photographs, maps and a reading list, is available for purchase, price £10.00 including postage and packing. To order a copy, please click here or, if you prefer, send a cheque, payable to Mike Higginbottom, to 63 Vivian Road, Sheffield, S5 6WJ.