North Yorkshire is home to some of the best known and loved railway routes in the UK.
With heritage railway lines, like the Wensleydale or North Yorkshire Moors Railways, lovingly restored to their former glory and the mainline Settle to Carlisle route offering spectacular views of the Dales, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the Yorkshire countryside in style.
Yorkshire’s Great Railway Journeys
The North Yorks Moors National Railway
This beautifully preserved steam and heritage diesel railway is officially the world’s most popular heritage railway and is the perfect way to experience the North Yorkshire Moors. With 18 miles of track to travel you can go all the way from Whitby to Pickering, travelling in some beautifully restored wood panelled vintage carriages. Take some time to stop at some of the stations on route including Goathland which if you are a Harry Potter fan you may well recognise as Hogsmeade Station from the first Harry Potter film.
It’s also appeared in Heartbeat, All Creatures Great and Small and a Simply Red video! Other stations include Levisham station which has been beautifully restored to represent a country station as it would have appeared in 1912 and Grosmont station which has been restored in 1950’s style.
Settle to Carlisle
Travelling on this world famous railway line is a fabulous way to view the Yorkshire Dales. You’ll pass through some lovely country stations and see some great examples of Victorian architecture such as the Ribblehead Viaduct, a Grade II listed structure which stands an impressive 400m long and 32m high.
The route also passes through Blea Moor through the longest tunnel on the journey which takes you 500 feet below the moors and if you fancy trying the Yorkshire Three Peak challenge then the station in Horton in Ribblesdale is the traditional starting part due to its proximity to Pen-y-ghent.
At 22 miles the Wensleydale Railway is one of the largest preserved stretches of heritage railway line in the UK. The line was originally built in the mid-19th century and was re-opened for passenger services by the Wensleydale Railway Association in 2003. The line currently runs from Northallerton West station through to Redmire near Leyburn and there are 4 other stations (Leeming Bar, Bedale, Finghall Lane and Leyburn) on the route. Trains are typically diesel locomotives from the 50s and there are also several special steam train services (these run throughout the summer and during December where there are also Santa Special Trains).
If you fancy purchasing some railway souvenirs there are shops at both Leeming Bar and Leyburn stations while for refreshments you can either try the Whistle Stop café at Bedale Station or the Bolton Arms pub in Redmire. This traditional village pub dates back to the 17th century and while enjoying a spot of lunch you can taste some of their hand pulled ales while sitting next to a roaring log fire.
Embsay and Bolton Railway
The Embsay and Bolton line is a 4 mile heritage railway line which is completely run by volunteers. It runs from Embsay Station, originally built in 1888, to Bolton Abbey station which is just 1.5 miles from the famous 12th century priory. You’ll find gift shops which specialise in Thomas the Tank Engine items as well as tea rooms and picnic facilities at both stations. Bolton Abbey even has a miniature 7 ¼ gauge railway which runs round the grounds and is great for kids.
If you fancy travelling in style you can choose to ride in a First Class Director’s Saloon, a selection of stately train carriages which are over 100 years old and have been fully restored to their original spectacular style. For special occasions you can even charter your own special train to travel with family and friends. Most regular services (typically vintage diesel trains) include a buffet car for refreshments and a steam engine runs each Sunday (and every day in peak season).
So all aboard! Let’s enjoy Yorkshire’s glorious landscapes from the comfort of our scenic railways…
Discover more great ideas for days out in Yorkshire here.