Monday, 15 July 2013

Rails to the Sands

Summer has arrived in the UK! We've had temperatures approaching 30ÂșC and it's been lovely!

View over the sands towards Scalby Mills.

Suzi and I don't work 'normal' hours - this means we have far more time at home than most couples do. And with a pet human not yet at school, it means that while many others sit chained to their desks we can be sitting on the beach at Scarborough!

So while office workers looked longingly out of the window we headed to Scarborough which is a lovely seaside town on the Yorkshire coast. It's survived quite well and has avoided turning into a cheap, down-at-heal place which some seaside resorts have done. This is perhaps as whilst tourism is still a major source of income, other industries still provide much of the area's employment. The split between the North and South Bays provides tow contrasting areas; the South Bay tends to be busier, with shops and amusements right by the beach whereas the North Bay is much quieter with barely any shops by the beach.

Half Fare

Linking Peasholm Park with Scalby Mills, right at the tip of the North Bay is the North Bay Railway, which just scrapes in as 'miniature' with its rather generous 20" gauge. Despite the wide gauge the line is very much miniature in character. It runs through Northstead Manor Gardens which were once the grounds of a medieval manor house, other parts of the grounds became Peasholm Park.

The railway's original two locomotives were supplied by Hudswell-Clarke of Leeds; despite appearances, they're actually diesel hydraulics. Their styling is clearly based upon that of the LNER's pacifics, which were then very modern. The railway aped the glamour of the main line railway, and what was once a very 'modern' appearance now seems, perhaps, a 'classic' railway style to our 2013 eyes.

Since the line has been privatised much work has gone into brightening up the line and generally refreshing it. The original two locos are still owned by the Council but are leased to the operator (so still aping 'modern' practice!) as well as two additional locos, both contemporaries of the resident locos and also Hudswell-Clarke products. In fact the whole area has seen a lot of work to renovate the gardens, the centrepiece being the reopened Open Air Theatre.

The northern end of the line has quite a different character from the lower end, much more open with lovely views across the North Bay. The station at Scalby Mills mimics a mainline terminus with its three roads and large 'signal box'.

Scalby Mills 'Signal Box', which actually masks a vent from the sewerage works below!

We actually started at Scalby Mills and travelled to Peasholm before walking the short distance to the beach! A really lovely day out, especially for a train mad little boy who got a ride on a train to the beach, with ice cream before a ride back before going home!

Further Reading

North Bay Railway

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