Mixed summer fortunes for North Yorks Moors

By Roger Melton

The fine weather of the summer months had brought mixed blessings to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR).

At the end of July the year-to-date figures were showing an increase of around 13% in visitor numbers, equivalent to around 11,400 extra passengers, although income was up by a lesser amount at 9%, indicating that secondary spend has fallen, with many families opting to bring sandwiches and drinks rather than buy them at the railway.

LNER B1 4-6-0 No. 1264 carried a wreath on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway as a mark of respect to the Thompson B1 Loco Trust’s long-term secretary Dave Fowler, who died on Saturday, August 4, aged 74. Dave had been involved with the B1 since the days of its acquisition from Woodham’s Barry scrapyard in the early-1970s, and only recently had negotiated its future five-year placement on the Moors. As well as guiding the locomotive through major overhauls in his role as trust secretary, Dave was also an active working member on the locomotive at Grosmont, having retired from Harpenden to Pocklington, in East Yorkshire, following a career in the energy industry. He leaves a wife Margaret, and daughters Gillian and Julia. MARK O’BRIEN

The good weather has not been entirely beneficial, however.

The tinder-dry nature of the railway lineside has meant the NYMR has been operating under “firecon 3” rules, whereby all trains remain steam-hauled, but all are given diesel assistance.

Unlike several other heritage lines, it has continued to offer steam haulage, but diesel help means the locomotives do not have to work so hard, thereby reducing the risk of locomotives throwing sparks that might cause fires.

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