Pickering railway station

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Station on heritage railway
Pickering railway station MMB 11 45407.jpg
LMS Stanier Class 5 4-6-0 45407 runs round a train at Pickering.
LocationPickering, Ryedale
Coordinates54°14′49″N 0°46′43″W / 54.247068°N 0.778509°W / 54.247068; -0.778509Coordinates: 54°14′49″N 0°46′43″W / 54.247068°N 0.778509°W / 54.247068; -0.778509
Grid referenceSE796841
Managed byNorth Yorkshire Moors Railway

Pickering railway station is the southern terminus of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and serves the town of Pickering in North Yorkshire, England.


Whitby and Pickering Railway (1836 to 1845)[edit]

Originally, from 1836, Pickering was the southern terminus of the horse worked Whitby and Pickering Railway (W&P) engineered by George Stephenson.[1] The coach shed at the end of the W&P's line stood approximately where the north end of the Y&NM trainshed stands today. The W&P minute books (in The National Archives) also refer to a weighbridge at Pickering but if built its location is unknown.

York and North Midland Railway (1845 to 1854)[edit]

In 1845 the W&P was taken over by George Hudson's York and North Midland Railway (Y&NM)[2] and the present station was built (to the design of George Townsend Andrews.[3] The Y&NM converted the line into a double track steam railway and constructed the link from Pickering to Rillington Junction on the new line from York to Scarborough.[4]

As well as the fine station building the York and North Midland Railway also provided other characteristic Andrews buildings, a stone built goods shed with wooden extension and a gas works - one of the earliest surviving railway gasworks buildings - occupied the area now known as 'the Ropery', the goods shed was demolished to make way for the new road but the gas works retort and purifier house still stands today adjacent to the new road. It ceased to produce gas when Pickering got its own Gas and Water company; later the NER had it converted into a corn warehouse. By the 1960s it had become a tyre retailers and subsequently was well restored for use as a café, later becoming a ladies hairdressers. While[when?] the adjacent doctor's surgery was being built, the base of the gasometer was discovered and excavated and still smelled of coal gas. It was filled in and sealed off and then built over.

The Y&NM also built a small brick single-road engine shed, large enough for a single locomotive, the shed was extended by the NER in 1867, retaining the same style (they even dismantled and re-erected the end section of the original building, according to the original contract plans held in the NYMR archives). There was a standard Y&NM house built adjacent to the shed. Both buildings are still standing today, incorporated into a joinery works. The shed lost its clerestory roof some time in the 1950s according to surviving photographic evidence but for a building about to become redundant (in 1958) BR surprisingly made the roof good as plain slate. This building is not only a rare (if not the only) surviving example of a G.T.Andrews engine shed but it is one of very few rural single track engine sheds still standing.

The Y&NM also provided a number of (mainly single storey) gatekeepers cottages next to those road crossings away from the town centre (Haygate Lane, Mill Lane and Newbridge (2 storey)), all of which still survive.

North Eastern Railway (1854 to 1922)[edit]

The North Eastern Railway (NER) made various changes at Pickering, they raised the platforms from almost track level to about the present level, in so doing they had to provide two steps down into every room in the station office block. They also extended the platforms beyond the limits of the Y&NM trainshed.

In 1876 the engine shed was extended to take two larger engines rather than one small one, the extension was carefully matched to the original building, apart from a difference in the cast-iron window frames. They even dismantled the original southern end of the shed and re-erected it on the extended shed (instructions on the original tender drawings for the extension, held in the NYMHRT Archives).

The biggest change came with the introduction of block-signalling in 1876. Signal cabins (the NER name) were erected at Mill Lane, Hungate, Bridge Street, High Mill and Newbridge. Later as the branches to Scarborough and Helmsley were opened, small signal cabins on the branches were opened to control the single to double track junctions, these were Eastgate and Goslip Bridge. Of these seven cabins only Newbridge survives today.

Originally there was a small turntable behind the engine shed but it became too small and inconvenient and was replaced by a 45 ft turntable north of the station near High Mill signal cabin.

It is not known what arrangements were made to provide engines with water at Pickering in earlier times but the NER erected a standard cast-iron panelled tank on a brick base (similar to the one at Goathland) at the south end of the sidings immediately north of the station. This tank was filled by a pump located in a pump house between the north end of the Y&NM trainshed and the beck, the water being taken from Pickering Beck. The tank served three standard NER water columns, on the up and down main lines and on the turntable road. It also supplied water to the engine shed.

London and North Eastern Railway (1923 to 1947)[edit]

Very little changed at Pickering during the London and North Eastern Railway's (LNER) twenty-five year reign. A new paint scheme, two tone green and cream replaced the NER's brown and cream but most of the NER's characteristic enamel signs remained in use, although the Running in boards were painted over during the Second World War. Although the LNER brought different locomotives, most of the local trains still consisted mainly of NER stock.

British Railways (1948 to 1965)[edit]

Points at the station are controlled by New Bridge signal box.

Under British Railways (BR) the present station lost its characteristic overall roof in 1952 as an economy measure as corrosion meant it was unsafe.[5] The NYMR was granted Heritage Lottery Funding for a number of schemes at Pickering station which includes reinstatement of the 1845 designed roof, which was projected to be complete by 2010, but was not officially unveiled until April 2011.[6]

At some time in the early BR period (probably at the same time that the overall roof was removed), Pickering lost its characteristic small W.H.Smiths bookstall on the up platform.[7] This bookstall had been there since some time in the NER period, it appears in the background of views taken by local photographer Sidney Smith before and during the first World War, subjects include a local Sunday School outing. It also appears in a photo of a wedding group on the platform in early BR days, a copy of which is held in the NYMR Archives digital image collection.

On 6 April 1959 the engine shed closed and Pickering's engine requirements were supplied by Malton shed. The turntable was also removed (by then there were no terminating passenger services, both branch lines having closed).[8]

Pickering station carried on as usual until its death knell was sounded in the Beeching Report of 1963 which planned the closure of all railways serving Whitby. Despite a fierce local campaign of opposition the line between Rillington Junction and Grosmont closed on 8 March 1965.[9] The line from Rillington as far as New Bridge signal box (about a mile north of the station) remained open for goods for a further year, a solitary signalman being retained at Pickering to work all the cabins needed by the goods trains.[10]


A roof was added to the station in the late 2000s.

In 1967, a group of local residents set up the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Society with the aim of preserving the line. Services began in 1970, and on 22 April 1973 the entire line from Grosmont to Pickering was reopened.[11]

Pickering's closed railway lines[edit]

In pre-preservation days Pickering was not a terminus; the main line continued south to Rillington Junction and thus to Malton, with connections for York. The Malton - Whitby service was ended in 1965 as part of the Beeching Axe.[9] Just south of the town was a double junction (at Mill Lane) with the Forge Valley branch turning east for Scarborough.[12]

This line closed in 1950 except for a freight only service to Thornton Dale which succumbed in 1963. A second branch, the Gilling and Pickering Line, headed west for Kirbymoorside, Helmsley, Gilling and eventually Pilmoor on the East Coast Main Line. This line provided Pickering's through passenger service to York but was closed in 1953.[13] A bus service, operated by Yorkshire Coastliner, now replaces the railway line to Malton and York, which is advertised along with railway services on the station's departure boards.

Part of the course of the old line through the town is now a road called "The Ropery" but the former engine shed has been converted into commercial premises (see above) and the bridge over Pickering Beck now used as a footpath.


The North Yorkshire Moors Railway runs regular services from Pickering to Grosmont, with some summer extensions to Whitby, operated by a variety of steam and diesel traction. There is also a bus link from York railway station.

Preceding station Heritage Railways  Heritage railways Following station
Terminus   North Yorkshire Moors Railway   Levisham
Disused railways
Thornton Dale   Forge Valley Line   Terminus
Kirby   Y & NMR (Pickering Branch)   Terminus
Sinnington   Gilling and Pickering Line   Terminus


  1. ^ Bairstow 2008, p. 13.
  2. ^ Ellis, Norman (1995). North Yorkshire Railway Stations. Ochiltree: Stenlake. p. 27. ISBN 1-872074-63-4.
  3. ^ Vanns, Michael (2017). "Early Days to Best Years". The North Yorkshire Moors Railway (1 ed.). Barnsley: Pen & Sword. p. 19. ISBN 9781473892088.
  4. ^ Young, Alan (2015). Lost Stations of Yorkshire; The North and East Ridings (1 ed.). Kettering: Silver Link. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-85794-453-2.
  5. ^ "Station's roof nears completion". BBC News. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  6. ^ "First train arrives at new-look Pickering Station". Gazette & Herald. 6 April 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Pickering Station Trail". nymr.co.uk. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  8. ^ Chapman, Stephen (2008). York to Scarborough, Whitby & Ryedale. Todmorden: Bellcode Books. p. 100. ISBN 9781871233193.
  9. ^ a b "Rail enthusiasts to mark anniversary of Beeching line closure". York Press. 5 March 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  10. ^ Bairstow 2008, p. 20.
  11. ^ Suggitt, Gordon (2010). Lost Railways of North & East Yorkshire. Lost Railways. Newbury, Berkshire: Countryside Books. pp. 85–92. ISBN 9781853069185.
  12. ^ Bairstow 2008, p. 72.
  13. ^ Vallance, Hugh Aymer, ed. (April 1953). "To Pickering via Gilling". Railway Magazine. Vol. 99 no. 624. pp. 233–234. ISSN 0033-8923.

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