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Steam train

The Swanage Steam Railway. A classic picture? Yes, the engine is pushing rather than pulling the carriages…

On a fabulous weekend recently with all our lovely God-children (and parents and friends!) we went on the Swanage Steam Railway. It ran along track at the bottom of the garden (well, vineyard) where we were staying, and I when I first saw it I nearly came over all Railway Children – sadly, though, I’d left my petticoat at home.Anyway, we waited at a tiny little station called

steam train passengers wating for the train

Waiting at Harman’s Cross Station

Harman’s Cross and when the train chuffed its way to a noisy and stately stop at the platform, we stepped up into carriages through whirling steam, slamming heavy doors behind us. It was really evocative, and I got a sense of how train travel might have been in my grandfather’s time. I even wondered if he and his brothers and sisters used to run onto a bridge to stand in the steam cloud bulging over the parapet as the engine passed underneath as we (almost) did (got the timing a bit wrong, v disappointing)!

The coming of the railway must have been really exciting for my great-grandfather, George Frank. He had considerable business interests in Kirkbymoorside, but still found time to write and publish guides to the local area which ran to several editions. In the preface to ‘Guide to Ryedale’ (3rd edition, 8,000, published 1875) which we think was his first Guide, he wrote:
Now that the Ryedale railway, from Gilling on the Thirsk and Malton branch, to Pickering on the Whitby branch, is completed, this romantic district, so full of beautiful scenery and abounding with objects of antiquity, is brought within the reach of the tourist.
It is the sole object of the writer of this little volume to compile, in as concise a manner as possible, a summary of the numerous places of interest, arranged in such a way that a stranger by its aid may be enabled thoroughly to explore the neighbourhood.”

Front cover of 'Guide to Ryedale' by George Frank, published 1875

Cover of ‘Guide to Ryedale’ by George Frank, published 1875

press reviews and title page of the Guide to Ryedale

The ‘Guide’ was clearly well received by the press…

map of the Ryedale area

Not the clearest of maps, but it was first included in this (third) edition

Kirkbymoorside Station was opened to passengers in 1874, three years after my grandfather was born, and was closed to passengers in 1953 – three years after he died. I think he probably travelled through the station quite a lot, particularly after he’d moved to Leeds, and would have walked the length of the town each time he came home to see his family, as hinted at in ‘My Garden’.

Pictures of the station can be seen at http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/k/kirbymoorside/index.shtml, according to which, the town’s station was apparently re-named Kirby Moorside by the North Eastern Railway Company, which was ‘not an uncommon railway practice’- although the original name was restored in 1948.

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