When the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Preservation Society took on the closed railway line between Grosmont and Rillington Junction, which formerly linked Whitby with York, they confined their efforts to reviving services between Grosmont and Pickering.
The stretch south from Pickering to Rillington Junction was abandoned in 1965 and the trackbed is blocked by buildings, including a library, and a major road junction.
Heritage steam trains draw into Pickering station and reverse on a stub short of what used to be a level crossing over a main road.
The NYMR has consistently rejected suggestions to restore the connection, arguing that it is impractical and would threaten its status as one of Britain’s most successful and efficient heritage railways.
It’s difficult to argue with an outfit as good at what they do as the NYMR. They claim to inject £30 million per annum into the local economy. Their relationship with Network Rail and local communities was not only strong enough to take steam trains back into Whitby station, but secured the finance to reinstate a second platform at Whitby to increase capacity.
On some Sundays each year, when Northern Rail doesn’t provide a service, the NYMR takes over the Esk Valley line and runs through to Battersby.
Indeed, the NYMR’s preference for a connection to York is to reinstate the line south of Battersby to the East Coast Main Line at Picton.
Nevertheless, the stub of track south of Pickering Station is a tempting ellipsis…