The last passenger train to travel over Bridge 30, between Goathland and Grosmont in North Yorkshire, is expected to go with a bang.
Fireworks and several other surprises will help to mark the final send-off, planned for the early evening of Sunday 1st November.
The occasion will mark the end of a 145 year piece of history, as bridge 30, which forms an 80ft span and takes the line over the Murk Esk, between Goathland and Grosmont, is set to be removed. It will be replaced with a new structure over the winter months. The cost of doing so is estimated at £650,000, with the line being severed while the work takes place.
There is an opportunity for visitors to mark the final journey over Bridge 30, before it is replaced, by travelling on a special Bridge Benefit last train on Sunday 1st November. The train will depart from Grosmont at 1530hrs for Pickering, returning from Pickering at 1700hrs, and will be hauled by the iconic streamline steam engine “Sir Nigel Gresley”. A £3 supplement for the round trip will be payable on top of the normal fares, with proceeds to the ‘Bridge & Wheels’ Appeal. (Passengers returning from Grosmont to Pickering only will not be charged the supplement).
For those looking to enjoy the experience in more opulent surroundings, a limited number of pre-bookable First Class seats are available for the round trip, offering tea, sandwiches and cakes in one of the more historic saloon carriages. A £10 supplement is payable in advance. Reservations can be made by phoning 01751 472508 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org following which a commemorative ticket will be issued.
NYMR General Manager, Philip Benham, said “What we’re looking to do is to recreate the atmosphere of the “last trains” that were so common in the Beeching era – the difference this time, of course, is that the line will re-open again in March next year! We’re ushering out a bridge that has served the Railway well, in readiness for a new structure of some significance to replace it.”
There may be some noise and bangs as the train passes over the bridge, and those who might be disturbed with very young children, or with dogs, will be advised to travel towards the rear of the train from Pickering.
A full service of steam hauled trains will operate throughout the weekend Sat 31 Oct and Sun 1 Nov, while the railway’s diesel railcar will be operating shuttle services between Grosmont and Goathland giving passengers a final chance to view the old bridge through the train’s panoramic windows.
The weekend will also be a last chance to travel behind ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’ in the 50th anniversary year since the engine became the fastest steam engine since the Second World War with a speed of 112mph on 23 May 1959.
Also during the weekend, the Railway is offering additional entertainment along the line, combining steam train rides with family entertainment, in what is dubbed the Wizard Weekend.
Birds of Prey will be on show at Levisham Station over the weekend with static displays on 31 Oct and demonstrations from 12.30pm on 1st November. A Punch and Judy show will also be performed on the Saturday.
At Goathland, a 30 minute magic show will be performed at regular intervals over the weekend.
Balloon modelling, face painting, magic tricks will be a feature at Levisham, Goathland and Grosmont stations over the weekend.
The Jet Set Border Morris dancers, dressed Goth-style, all in black, will be performing at regular intervals at Goathland and Grosmont stations, using the train to travel between the two stations.
Passengers may also like to visit Whitby, where the town’s annual Goth Weekend is taking place, but are asked to note that the last train back from Whitby on Sunday 1 November will run earlier than usual at 16.00hrs.
For further details about the train running during this weekend, go to www.nymr.co.uk or alternatively call 01751 472508