Wartime weekend attracted thousands to the region

Pickering Wartime weekend.Riding through the parade .Picture Richard Ponter 124153l
Pickering Wartime weekend.Riding through the parade .Picture Richard Ponter 124153l

Thousands of people flocked to Pickering and Whitby for the Railway at Wartime weekend.

The event, organised by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway is now in its 20th year, growing in popularity each October.

Wartime Weekend in Pickering.Sweethearts say goodbye.Picture Richard Ponter 124143p

Wartime Weekend in Pickering.Sweethearts say goodbye.Picture Richard Ponter 124143p

An estimated 50,000 people are believed to have visited Pickering, Whitby and stations along the heritage railway line during the three day festival,

World War II re-enactors mingled with visitors from near and far for what is the biggest weekend of its type in the north of England and a major money-spinner for local businesses.

There was dancing in the streets, a surprise visit from Allo Allo’s Herr Flick at Levisham Station and steam trains packed choc-a-bloc with people throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

And businesses seemed to reap the benefits with customers queuing out the door for refreshments and other goodies.

Pickering Wartime weekend.Amy Bell with puppy Trevor..Picture Richard Ponter 124153f

Pickering Wartime weekend.Amy Bell with puppy Trevor..Picture Richard Ponter 124153f

Re-enactors came from across the UK and as far away as Holland to enjoy the sights and sounds of the area as it was transformed into the Home Front in 1943.

It was the third visit For Ted Lumb, of Tadcaster, who came dressed as a member of the 4th Infantry Division (United States).

He said: “It’s getting bigger and a bit busier where before it was easier to get around and less of a crush. It’s good that everybody gets behind the town and makes it such a good atmosphere.”

So popular has the Railway at Wartime weekend become that this year led to a new approach from organisers who were urged to spread out the crowds following safety concerns raised after the 2011 event.

By taking over Pickering Showground and splitting the traditional parade over Saturday and Sunday, railway bosses believed it would thin out the thousands of people who turned out to enjoy the atmosphere.

Philip Benham, the railway’s general manager, said: “There are a few differences this year because we were given warning that the numbers in Pickering were becoming a serious concern. It seems to be going reasonably well.

“I can’t say how we are doing compared to other years yet but it seems to be the same as previous years.”

And William Oxley, the Mayor of Pickering, added: “I’ve heard that moving things down to the showground is working well. People I have spoken to say its a good move and will mean more people are able to come in future years.”