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At 07.40 on Friday 6th April 2018 a steam loco, LNER Thompson B1 No. 61264 left Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Railway, bound for York Holgate sidings, whereat it was stabled overnight. On the same day, at about the same time and for exactly the same reason, steam loco LMS 8F No. 48151 left Carnforth via the Settle & Carlisle line with its support coach, also bound for York Holgate sidings where it was also stabled overnight.

In the 'wee small hours' (02:15) of the following day, Saturday 7th April 2018, Steve Beames quietly 'notched' 86259 out of Rugby to travel 'light engine' via Northampton through Willesden and then Camden to wait for a while at Ferme Park in London. The plot then thickened (!) as a Class 57 diesel engine left Southall with nine coaches bound initially for Ferme Park where 86259 was then coupled to the other end of the train (topped and tailed) and the entire consist was hauled back into Kings Cross Station by the diesel.

On Saturday 7th April 2018 86259 left London Kings Cross at 05:54 in the capable hands of Steve Beames to make its way northwards along the East Coast Main Line ("ECML") bound for York, picking up further passengers at Stevenage (06:27), Huntingdon (06:55) and Peterborough (07:19) (and changing driver to Jim Clark when Steve's work period expired) before proceeding non-stop to York Holgate Sidings. There, 86259 was uncoupled from the train and Steam locomotives LNER Thompson B1 No. 61264 and LMS 8F No. 48151 were added 'Top & Tail' for the onward trip up the ECML to Thirsk and Northallerton where the consist turned out from under the wires towards Stockton-on-Tees.

Trevor Ledgeway shot an outstanding video of the Holgate manoeuvres which I (Les) discovered on YouTube and which may be accessed here. It is about 15 minutes long and very atmospheric. Near the video's end you might even spot ME walking along the ballast on the lower right-hand side of the frame in my Peter Pan Locomotive Company Ltd hi-viz jacket! I actually spoke with Trevor, across the fence, although I do not think he realised who I was at the time. N.B. Hover over the video and hit the '4 corners' symbol to go 'full screen' on the movie and do it again at the end to return to 'normal' to close the page.

Having already been in two of the three Holgate sidings for the loco exchange, 259 then pulled into the third siding in front of some freight rolling stock for its 10-hour stabling until the coaching stock returned from Whitby. York, of course, is a historic city and home of the National Railway Museum in which my good engineer friend (David Grieff) and I spent quite some time during the day.

The steam locomotives 48151 (at the front, facing forwards) and 61264 (at the back and travelling in reverse) sped passengers through Thirsk, Northallerton, Eaglescliffe, Thornaby and Middlesbrough. The famous Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge dating from 1911 is a prominent landmark in that area. At Guisborough Junction, the trip headed for Battersby on the edge of the Cleveland Hills and then took the attractive Esk Valley line through the northern section of the North Yorkshire Moors passing Castleton Moor, Danby, Glaisdale, Egton, and then crossing the Esk a number of times to reach Grosmont, Sleights, Ruswarp and run alongside the Esk to pass beneath the impressive Larpool Viaduct. Boat yards and a view of the ancient abbey heralded the arrival at Whitby.

There were about 4 hours available in Whitby to explore the many attractions the town has to offer including the working harbour, quaint shops and restaurants, the 13th century abbey and St Mary’s church (reached by 199 steps(!)), the Dracula museum and even a kipper smokery where the producecould be purchased!

After time in Whitby, the trip retraced its route through Battersby, Middlesbrough, Northallerton and Thirsk, arriving in York in the early evening after an interesting and varied day on rural branch lines of the north-east. A similar pantomime took place in Holgate sidings to swap out the steam locos and swap in 86259 now driven by Micky Valla back down the ECML to take passengers back to London, calling to set down at the earlier pick up stations. The arrival back at Kings Cross was 9 minutes earlier than planned.

Img Hodgson

Shown herewith by kind permission of the copyright holder.
©Mark Hodgson

Img Green

Shown herewith by kind permission of the copyright holder.
© Nick Green

Photos on Flickr taken en route.

Shown here as links to public-domain flickr pages, to avoid copyright issues.

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Simon Beeston at Colton
1Z85 05:54 London Kings Cross - 14:19 Whitby running on 07/04/2018

Ian Dixon at Ryther

Stes Rail Pics
07-04-2018 - 86259 at Doncaster on 1Z85 London Kings Cross to Whitby.

48151 rushes along the Esk Valley line at High Park farm near Lealholm with 'The Whitby Flyer' 1Z86 1630 Whitby-London King's Cross which was electric-hauled to York. B1 '1264' assists at the rear.

Tom Watson
8F 48151 waits in the old NYMR run-round loop at Whitby during the Whitby Flyer.

Arriving at Battersby station 0804 2018 on the Whitby Flyer