This weekend has seen the start of the ‘Santa Specials’ season with three departures each day from Pickering, three from Grosmont on Saturday 30th November and three from Whitby on Sunday 1st December. Always very popular, heralding the magic of Christmas with the whole family able to take part and enjoy the festivities. On the NYMR these trains set out from a variety of departure points each weekend until 22nd December. Spare a thought for all those willing volunteers who have given up their time to decorate the trains and stations and wrap the many hundreds of presents that will be given away over the next few weeks. I take my hat off to them!
If you feel like a weekly dose of fresh air and exercise then perhaps you would like to help with lineside clearance? Ian Wallis organises a working party every Thursday starting at 09.15 hrs, and this year is starting by concentrating on the Fen Bog area where good progress has been made on the first four Thursdays. A picture of work in progress can be found here:
If you would like to help, contact Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org You will need to be a registered volunteer with a PTS and you should bring a packed lunch, your own hand tools and suitable clothing. Training is available for those without a PTS certificate, contact Ian.
I have been working with John Bailey and Richard Jackson to get the next edition of Moors Express ready and hopefully it will be published sometime this coming week. It has been six months since the last edition so there is quite a backlog of news to report. We are hoping that after this edition we can turn out a new edition every two weeks. This will make it quite a bit shorter, easier to digest and of far more use as a means of communication between the Railway and the ordinary member. All of us on the editorial team welcome feedback and would love to hear what you think and your suggestions for future stories.
The working group that is behind the expansion of station facilities at Whitby have certainly had their mettle tested in recent weeks. Since the project was taken over by Network Rail it has become something of an ‘obstacle race’, each time a challenge is overcome, more arise in front of the negotiating team. With each ‘hurdle’ passed, another comes out of the mist. Who would have believed that there is a separate procedure for authorising the construction of a curved platform as opposed to a straight one? Well there is and the NYMR team have had to deal with it. Aside from the procedural difficulties there has been the land to recover, escalating costs to be matched with external funding, planning the operating procedures and so on.
So what will we have at the end of all of this? Well there will be a dedicated platform with its own track. There will be an engine release line between the new and existing tracks and a ground frame to control the points and signals. This will allow one train to follow another in and out of Whitby.
As I mentioned in last weeks post, although the works are scheduled to start in January they are not likely to be finished until the middle of May and so our new timetable is provisionally due to start on 17th May. Between the beginning of the season and 17th May a version of the 2013 timetable will be in operation but, as there will be no access to Bog Hall Sidings, trains will have to be ‘top and tailed’.
Locomotive Availability 2014
The enhanced Whitby services will put pressure on our locomotive resources so it is worth taking a moment to consider which engines will be available. Things look a bit better for next year than they have for a while:
Home Based Contract
(W)= Engines passed for Whitby running
In the peak timetable for 2013 there was a need for 6 steam engines and this was very rarely achieved. This resulted in considerable diesel substitution which was not popular. By contrast the 2014 timetable is more efficient in its use of resources and in the equivalent peak timetable only 4 steam engines and 1 diesel are needed, so whilst the list above looks quite impressive, when engines are stopped for boiler washout or mechanical failure then the reserve looks a bit thin (but nothing like as thin as it was in 2013!). For this reason I understand that the Railway is on the lookout for another ‘hired in’ engine capable of running on Network Rail.
The increased level of service to Whitby requires a third carriage set to be passed for running on Network Rail. Couple this with the backlog of work on carriage maintenance and we can start to appreciate the uphill struggle that C & W are facing. Wheel turning, locked off doors and toilets are all major issues that need to be tackled and, to keep costs down, an influx of additional volunteers would help. Unfortunately our Mk 1 coaching stock is rusting away faster than it can be repaired. In the peak season we need 4 x 7 coach sets (3 x Whitby and 1 x internal) plus the 6 coach teak set and 6 coach diner making 40 vehicles in all to prepare and keep running. On top of that there are a further 9 vehicles stopped and awaiting long term repairs.
I’m always delighted to receive feedback on this series of ‘posts’ - is this what people want to read, are there news items that I’m missing, do you disagree with my point of view? Please get in touch by means of the ‘contact us’ section on this website.
Thats all for now - next week has another Board meeting so I should be able to report on that in next Sundays ‘post’.