Breathing life back into East Yorkshire’s only heritage railway with an action packed weekend

A developing heritage railway attraction in East Yorkshire is taking another step forward this weekend as it works towards breathing life back into a former stretch of a scenic Yorkshire Wolds line.

The milestones along the way in creating the Yorkshire Wolds Railway (YWR) have included the arrival of its first piece of rolling stock and the reinstatement of 300m of operational railway, thanks to European funding and the dedication of a willing band of volunteers.

Excitement has been building ahead of a visit to YWR on Saturday and Sunday, September 4 and 5, by members of the Hull and Barnsley Railway Stock Fund (H&BRSF) at the Fimber Halt site.

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H&BRSF was formed in 1968 with the aim of saving as much rolling stock and artefacts from the line as possible.

Based at Goathland, the H&BRSF is now completing its most ambitious restoration project yet with the repair of coach No.1 at Hull College.

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From left, Ian Coulson, Dave Green, Celia Wilkinson and Alan Brown on part of the newly constructed platform at Fimber Halt
From left, Ian Coulson, Dave Green, Celia Wilkinson and Alan Brown on part of the newly constructed platform at Fimber Halt

Martyn Jones, operations director at YWR, said: “We are really excited to be welcoming members of H&BRSF to the YWR when they will be bringing name boards, tickets and many pictures of the Hull and Barnsley Railway around Hull and the Wolds.

“The Yorkshire Wolds Railway has not done an event like this before, and we are really excited to be working with the team from Hull to offer something a little different in a unique space here at the YWR.”

In another first for the team at Fimber, and to give as many people as possible the chance to see the items on display, the YWR will be open on both days from 11am to 5pm, giving cab rides along the recently extended 1,000ft railway line.

Matthew Brown, media director and membership secretary, said: “We appreciate that not everyone is available to visit on a Sunday, and as our friends at the H&BRSF are visiting, we thought it was an excellent opportunity to trial a Saturday opening and we look forward to welcoming visitors to site to let them see what we have achieved.”

YWR, which formed in 2008 exactly 50 years after the closure of the Malton and Driffield Junction Railway, closed at the end of its normal open season in September 2019, and while preparations were well under way for reopening in March 2020, these were dashed by the pandemic.

It meant YWR did not open for any of the 2020 season, resulting in a loss of income for the fully volunteer-run, charity organisation.

When Government guidelines allowed, Covid-secure working practices were set up and volunteers returned to continue construction of East Yorkshire’s only heritage railway.


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Matthew said: “Our amazing volunteers have pulled out all the stops to give the public a much improved experience when visiting us at Fimber Halt, the biggest changes being a completely rebuilt platform and tripling the length of our track to around 1,000ft.

“Having listened to customer feedback and thanks to a very generous donation, we have also added a newly constructed toilet block which is fully access compliant.”

Matthew said: “We are really excited about the H&BRSF visit, and are looking forward to seeing the photographs and artefacts that will be on display this weekend.”



Hull and Barnsley Railway Stock Fund's coach No.1 with its big brother coach No.58 at Hull College
Hull and Barnsley Railway Stock Fund’s coach No.1 with its big brother coach No.58 at Hull College

Volunteers have been continuing restoration work on a 1961 brake van that was originally delivered to the YWR on Yorkshire Day 2018.

Throughout the pandemic, the team led by Andy Barwick and Keith Jakowyszyn, have worked tirelessly replacing timber, tidying metal work, and making parts from new for the project which will cost a total of £8,000 to complete.

Hull College took delivery of H&BRSF’s coach No. 58 early last year, with students learning traditional methods of joinery, upholstery and decorating to help turn the largely empty and “mothballed” carriage back into something close to its original design, complete with Edwardian-style fixtures and fittings.

H&BRSF said that work was continuing, with the current task of putting back the seating compartments within the carriage.



Yorkshire Wolds Railway, East Yorkshire's only heritage railway, is holding an open event over the weekend of September 4 and 5, 2021
Yorkshire Wolds Railway, East Yorkshire’s only heritage railway, is holding an open event over the weekend of September 4 and 5, 2021

Coach No.1 has also become part of the restoration partnership between H&BRSF and the college.

A H&BRSF spokesperson said: “With regards to No.1’s restoration, an underframe has been found but to be a couple of feet too long.

“A specialist team is now required to cut and close the gap. While this may seem like a major challenge, it has been done before on the Isle of Wight Railway, who are assisting with the project.”

Hull College is just a short walk from Cannon Street, the former home of the Hull and Barnsley Railway’s Hull terminus, so for the coaches, it is a journey back in time.



Part of the team involved in the restoration of coach No.58
Part of the team involved in the restoration of coach No.58

At YWR, access to the visitor centre, a genuine British Rail MK1 Full Brake coach, and car park, is free, although donations are gratefully received

A cab ride in the locomotive Sir Tatton Sykes costs £2.50 per person or £8 for a family of four.

The YWR is always keen to involve new people, and anyone interested in becoming a member or volunteering, making a donation or just finding out more can visit Yorkshire Wolds Railway or call 01377 338053 for more information.