Thanks to spectacular countryside and its role in popular TV and films (notably Heartbeat and Harry Potter), the NYMR is one of Britain's most popular and prestigious preserved railways. Running 28 miles from Pickering to Whitby (exercising trackage rights on the Network Rail main line for the last eight miles between Grosmont and Whitby), the line meanders through valleys and moors, past streams and forests, all the way to Whitby's harbour.
61034 sitting at Grosmont
I met up with my friend David Horton, a signaller with Network Rail, for a day of exploring the line. In 2013, David had introduced me to Peak Rail, a much smaller preserved line, but one with equally beautiful scenery. I had never been to the NYMR and David hadn't been in years, so it what a good place to spend the day.
Grosmont station dwarfed by the landscape
Starting in Pickering, we travelled to Whitby before turning around to stop for lunch at Grosmont. Having explored the NYMR's main sheds, we got back on the train and travelled back to Whitby to use the rover ticket to our advantage. Turning around at Whitby, we travelled to Goathland, a village made famous as "Aidensfield" in ITV's extremely popular Heartbeat. Walking around the village is a very surreal experience - I had never been there, but I felt I knew it.
A timeless scene
After a long stop at Goathland, we got back on the train and headed back to Pickering, bringing to a close nine hours of travelling behind both steam and diesel locomotives. One of the nicest things about the NYMR is that it mostly runs through the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, meaning that the landscape has been spared from modern development. It is always strange on preserved railways when a steam engine passes the shiny new supermarket, but this doesn't happen on the NYMR. As a result, you really do feel like you have travelled back in time, with a slower pace of life and a closer connection to the countryside.
Climbing the 1-in-49 grade into Goathland
A day rover ticket for the line costs £25. Although this sounds like a lot, it does give you access to 28 miles of railway running through beautiful scenery and a full day out. If you haven't been on the NYMR, it is a journey to put at the top of your to-do list.
Edit: The original post incorrectly stated that the trip ended in Whitby. Of course, a round trip from Pickering would end in Pickering.