Nearly 300 tonnes of Scunthorpe rail are set to be installed at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR), helping keep services running at the heritage line.
The railway, which was built in the 1830s, runs through glorious countryside and the 18 miles of the route owned by NYMR and 6 miles between Grosmont and Whitby owned by Network Rail are a popular tourist attraction offering visitors the exciting opportunity to climb on board a heritage steam or diesel train.
British Steel Account Manager Darren Cole said: “Looking after heritage railways is quite a responsibility and something customers like NYMR take very seriously. They’re keen to make sure the rail experience is preserved for generations to come and want to do this in an authentic way, so we’re very proud to see our rail help support this valuable railway conservation work.”
In the mid-1960s after its closure, NYMR bought the line from British Railways between Pickering and Grosmont and has maintained the track and other assets ever since. During this time, British Steel has supplied a range of high-quality rails including bullhead rails for use at the Deviation Curve near Grosmont, flat bottom rails for bridge renewals at Goathland and now 290 tonnes of 54E1 flat bottom rails for the track from Kingthorpe to Farwath.
Nigel Trotter, Infrastructure Projects Engineer at NYMR, said: “The railway has a long and fascinating history – it was built by the Whitby and Pickering Railway in the 1830s as a single line for use by horse-drawn carriages and wagons. In the 1940s, it was doubled to carry steam engines. During the First World War, it was singled again between New Bridge, near Pickering, and Levisham to provide track for use in France. It’s always been said the recovered track was taken by ship across the Channel, but allegedly sank so never got there! But then there are other suggestions that it never even left the UK.”
The latest section of the track to benefit from new rail runs from Kingthorpe to Farwath. It’s a very remote section of the railway with almost no public access and is in a heavily forested area. Nigel said: “It was relayed by British Railways in 1954, so the best option now for long-term benefit and our continued safe, reliable train operations is to completely renew the track with new flat bottom rails laid on concrete sleepers with stone ballast.”
The installation work will be carried out early this year by a small group of trained NYMR staff and volunteers in readiness for the return of visitors. Nigel said: “They’ll be working to a well-rehearsed routine. Using a rail-mounted crane and special wagons with side loader cranes, the team will offload the 60ft (18m) long rails, each one weighing just over a tonne. The existing track will be lifted out using either the crane or our excavator, which then regrades the existing ballast ready to lay the sleepers.
“Once the sleepers are installed, the rails are lifted into position and fastened down ready for a specialist rail welding firm to join them together. Once testing and checks are complete, the rails will be stressed to form continuous welded rail track, so will be largely maintenance free for many years.”
To learn more about the railway, forthcoming events and to book tickets, visit https://www.nymr.co.uk/