The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is England’s most popular heritage railway, which runs through 29km (18 miles) of the North York Moors National Park between Pickering and Grosmont with its northern terminus at Whitby.
Goathland station on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway route has featured in the TV show Heartbeat and also in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (as Hogsmeade station). Pickering Station featured in the 2016 Dad’s Army film.
Pickering train station only serves heritage trains on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Regular passenger trains do not stop here; however, you can access this rail line by taking regular trains to Grosmont and Whitby.
Travel on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway involves either a return service between Pickering and Whitby, or alternatively, you can buy the hop-on-hop-off Moors Explorer ticket that allows you to hop on and off at stations en route between Pickering and Grosmont.
The return service between Pickering and Whitby is called the Seaside Special (the return trip starting from Whitby is called The Yorkshire Express) and costs £41–43 depending whether you’re travelling on a peak or off-peak date. Travel on the Seaside Special service is included if you have either a three-day or six-day York Pass.
These tickets are only good on specific services and passengers on the 9.20am departure from Pickering must return on the 2pm or 4.35pm service (depending on that day’s schedule) from Whitby and passengers on the 12 noon Pickering departure must return on the 4.30pm, 5.10pm or 6pm service (depending on that day’s schedule) from Whitby. Depending on the day’s schedule, you will have between two hours and 50 minutes and five hours and 25 minutes to explore Whitby.
The return trip between Whitby and Pickering (starting at Whitby) is called The Yorkshire Express and costs £41–43 depending whether you’re travelling on a peak or off-peak date. Travel in this direction is NOT included with the York Pass.
Like the Seaside Special, these tickets are only good on specific services and passengers on the 10am departure from Whitby must return on the 1pm or 3pm service (depending on that day’s schedule) from Pickering and passengers on the 12.35pm Whitby departure must return on the 4pm service from Pickering. Depending on the day’s schedule, you will have between one hour and 20 minutes and three hours and 20 minutes to explore Pickering.
The Moors Explorer is a hop-on-hop-off service that lets you hop on and off at stations along the line between Pickering and Grosmont. This is a similar experience to how the railway operated prior to Covid along the entire line; however, this service does not allow you to travel all the way to Whitby.
There are usually between three and four services in each direction per day so it is best to start on the first service of the day in order to make a full day of it.
Although the North Yorkshire Moors Railway doesn’t operate a regular service during winter, it does operate Christmas-themed Santa Specials between Pickering and Grosmont on weekends in December.
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway operates daily from early April to late October, although there are some winter services on weekends in December, for most of the week before New Year’s Day and during February school holidays.