This year marks the 40th anniversary of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway reopening following closure of it as a through route. A lot has changed since it was part of the national network, I suspect it now carries far, far more passengers than it ever did during its supposed 'heyday'. Of course the nature of the nature of the travller has changed; now the railway is very much a day out itself rather than merely a means of travelling somewhere.
To celebrate this forty year period, the railway is having a ten day gala! Ten days does seem like a long time, especially in times where we are constantly reminded how bad the economic climate is and with people's finances being squeezed ever further. But for a railway which runs scheduled services over Network Rail metals, this bold statement is perhaps not unexpected!
The way my shifts fell I didn't think I'd be able to see any of the gala; but because we were going to see Eddie Izzard I'd already booked the day off work, so Small Person (Thomas) and I managed to get a visit in! We headed to Levisham first for what should have been a fleeting visit but we were invited into the signal box! Helps when you know the signalman on duty! And Levisham is a lovely little box - amazing how small it is compared with the boxes I've worked. The 25 lever frame is somehow shoehorned into a box which originally housed, I think, a 10 lever frame!
|Thomas watching for trains!|
And for a little box, it certainly can keep a signalman busy on gala days! What a lovely place to be with three steam hauled trains within the station limits! I could quite happily work somewhere like that!
I think we both had a really lovely visit! After Levisham we headed for Pickering and as a treat he got a die-cast Neville and the book with Neville in it! And as a real bonus Christopher Vine, author of the Peter's Railway series of children's books, so we had to have a copy of the latest paperback - signed of course!
As we left Pickering, mid-afternoon I realised I soon had a sleeping little boy in the back; books in hand and Neville balanced on his knee! And all in, a really lovely day!