The North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s Yorkshire’s Magnificent Journey Appeal is a great initiative surrounded by some very impressive publicity. The railway can’t exist without new bridges, people should be able to enjoy the ride however mobile they are and young people need apprenticeship schemes.
But does it need the Pickering carriage shed and repair facilities? Yes, but not where they’re proposed nor in the form suggested.
The 160-metre long carriage stable is designed to stop criminal damage to those wonderful vintage carriages. How can an open sided building, without doors do that?
Worst of all, a huge part of the Newbridge valley - 2.5 football pitches worth, actually - will be turned into an industrial development similar to that of the North Yorkshire Moor Railway depot at Newbridge Crossing. The planned water meadow site is so cramped that the access rails serving one shed will have to run through the other, removing several carriage parking spaces.
Yet, next door to this greenfield site is the perfectly concealed Newbridge Quarry with a large, flat, worked-out area which used to be rail connected. It would easily accommodate the large secure buildings that are needed. Even security lighting would be no problem. Shouldn’t the railway be talking to the quarrying company and the landowners, the Duchy of Lancaster?
The new sheds, added to the existing carriage repair sheds at Pickering station, a large new car park, the semi derelict former fish farm sheds and Newbridge railway depot will finally turn what was once a beautiful rural valley walk into a mile of industrial squalor.
And if a better site for the sheds aren’t found, North Yorkshire Moor Railway travellers will find that Yorkshire’s Magnificent Journey has a very disappointing ending.