I have recently returned from a family holiday in North Yorkshire staying in Pickering, so naturally we took a ride on the NYMR.
It was my third visit to the line. The first was back in the mid 1980's when it was the diesel preservation mecca of the UK scene.
I recall we had a fantastic trip to Grosmont behind the Hymek D7029. This machine is now to be found on the SVR and has, I reckon, spent more years under 'overhaul' than its entire active career on BR. I hesitate to criticise the DTG who got Western Champion back on the mainline, which is a magnificent achievement, and their Warship 'Greyhound' is a credit to them too, but I do think it is a crying shame that the Hymek has been out of traffic for 26 years now.
Our locomotive this time was the B1 61264 which is currently masquerading as 61002 'Impala'. I'm not too sure about swapping loco identities in this fashion, it doesn't fool me and I struggle to suspend my disbelief.
I was delighted, though, because it's the first time I've ever seen a B1, let alone travelled behind one. It was also wonderful to finally see a locomotive I played a minute part in returning to steam. More than 30 years ago Himself and I were dragooned into completing a sponsored cycle ride for the Thomson B1 Locomotive Trust.
We journeyed to Goathland which I have always considered to be among of the most atmospheric stations on our many heritage railways - up there with the SVR and K&WVR's stations and the likes of Horsted Keynes on the Bluebell.
This visit was also my first look at the magnificent newly recreated overall roof at Pickering station. I always found it a strangely unsatisfying place to visit previously, but now it is very evocative. To me this is a sign that the NYMR - which is celebrating its 40th anniversary - has truly matured as a railway.
Our return journey provided another link with my childhood visit to the line with a ride back behind the Black 5 45428 'Eric Treacy' which I recall seeing in steam on that day in the 80's along with the National Collection's 9F 'Evening Star'
There was one final treat in store for me. I finally got to see a Class 24! They were withdrawn by BR before I was old enough to remember them, although there may been a chance I came into contact with one on the Cambrian as a toddler, and I had never seen one of the preserved examples before.
This wee beastie ran past us on a very short freight train while we were walking next to the line - or should that be incline? - between Goathland and Grosmont, but alas my good lady was in possession of the family camera at that moment. (Needless to say no snap was taken!) But I did find it lurking in the sidings at Pickering upon our return.