The North York Moors Railway is a “heritage” railway, meaning that it transports contemporary passengers on outdated trains to outdated stations for exorbitant fares. Although trains and stations have been refurbished, they typically don’t meet current standards for disabilities or comfort. Most of the “employees” are volunteers – many probably doing the same jobs they did while employed. The heritage railways are for fanatics, which may include me because I enjoy riding on them.
The ride from Whitby to Pickering is only 18 miles, but takes about 1½ hours. The tracks generally follow the Esk River valley, providing the same scenery you would enjoy if you walked it. Many people hop on and off the train and walk parts of it. I didn’t hop off, but I did nod off from time to time, if that counts.
I timed my trips to take an historic diesel engine to Pickering, and return to Whitby on an historic steam engine. Once aboard, you don’t really see the engine except on tight curves, and then only if you are in the last carriage, too far to get a picture. You could hear the difference, though; at each stop the roar of the diesel engine grew louder when accelerating, while the tempo of the steam engine’s chugging increased, but not its decibels.
Due to my schedule, I had less than an hour in Pickering, which was more than enough. I’m still not mentioning the U.S. election campaign, but I thought it interesting that these two establishments were right down the street from each other. Maybe our cultures are closer than I thought.
To round out my tourist day, I took a hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Whitby. I did the entire tour without hopping off, because I knew I wouldn’t hop back on once I got off. The good thing about the tour is that it was on a modern bus, so the fare was low. It was worth every tuppence I paid.