Saturday, 6 August 2016

NYMR: The "North Yorkshire Pullman" Dining Train...

Hello all. This weekend has seen our first visit to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway at Grosmont, which runs for 18 miles through picturesque moorland to its terminus at Pickering. In order to savour the best of the railway, I had booked us aboard one of their well recommended Pullman Dining Trains. I booked this outing some time ago (not long after Christmas) and so it had been a long time looking forward to it! Having changed following our walk to Goathland earlier today, we arrived back at Grosmont station at not long after 6:30pm. The departure of the Diner was scheduled for 7:15pm and so we had a bit of time to enjoy the atmosphere and admire the engine...
The locomotive at the head of the train was once again 45428 "Eric Treacy" which I spotted last night on another dining turn. Built in 1937 by Armstrong Whitworth, 45428 is one of the 842-strong class of Stanier's extremely popular Black Five. A Mixed Traffic engine of 5MT classification, the Black Five 4-6-0's were probably the best all round, go anywhere locomotive that the amalgamated companies produced. They were not the strongest or the fastest, but they would have a go at anything and it is a testament to their usefulness that so many were built and also that 18 have survived into preservation in one form or another. 45428 was simmering nicely at the head of the 8-coach train...
Having wandered over the crossing, we admired the engine as she waited at Grosmont's Platform 3. She looked well tonight, carrying her smart headboard and displaying nicely polished door hinges. I was lucky to get an unhindered shot of her...
People were scurrying around all over the place trying to catch that all important souvenir shot of the Black Five. Its interesting to think how little attention a workaday 5MT would have received in everyday service on BR compared to their 'celebrity' status of today. I love them, I think they're cracking machines...
Tickets in hand, we walked down towards the Red Carpet ("Oo Er, Very Swish!") where passengers were boarding. You can select your own Dining Car in advance on NYMR Pullman services and, for me, there could only be one: Car No 79. Built in 1928, Car 79 was part of a batch of 29 cars ordered for use on the LNER. These 1920's cars offer the true Pullman look and are much older in style than the Met Cam Pullman's that came later in the 1960's. Car 79 is very elegant...
Having boarded Car 79 we walked down through the coach to find our table for two. The table was set for the 4-course Meal that we would enjoy during the 36-mile round trip...
Right on time at 7:15pm, 45428 gave a deep blast of her Stanier Hooter before hissing loudly out of Grosmont. The engine chugged merrily through Grosmont Tunnel, passing the engine shed on the left. We then came alongside the pathway of the Rail Trail which we walked earlier today, before the train climbed away towards Beck Hole. Meanwhile there was some lovely red wine to enjoy...
The Black Five dug into the climb towards Goathland, barking loudly in the typical duff tone of the Midland beat. Progress slowed as we neared Goathland on the 1 in 49, with the engine shouting her head off as we meandered uphill. I couldn't help but think how 'cold' she must have been having stood for an hour before climbing up a gradient as stiff as that...
"Rolling Fields And Farmland Towards Goathland"
The starter was served on route to Goathland as we looked out across the fields...
The second course was a second starter basically: a Soup Course. The engine was now making steady progress away from Goathland as the rolls were served...
The speed of the train was steady on the outward run to Pickering, probably to allow the many waitress' to make their way up and down the train without falling over. Car 79 was exquisitely furnished and I was so pleased that I chose her. The main course was served as we took a break at Levisham...
"Main Course"
From Levisham, the Black Five made faster progress towards Pickering, where we arrived at around 8:50pm. As the 4-6-0 barked on through the lonely moorland, I couldn't help but think of Dave Goulder's song about the class. It goes like this...

"Well you're up and you're groaping for coal
For the fire had blinded your eyes
Feel the boiler's need and the fire-hole's greed
As you blacken the sun and the sky

She goes hammering over the hill
And you're bloody near roasted alive
Like a hound of steel riding runaway wheels
There's a devil astride a Black Five"
Dave Goulder - Black Five

At Pickering, the illuminated table lamps of the Pullman Cars was all that I could find to light the scene. The section of overall roof at the station is impressive...
"Pullman Cars 'Robin' and 'Car 79' At Pickering"
I took a gamble with trying to take photographs of the Black Five running round; perhaps I shouldn't have. The auto-focus on my camera makes it look lighter than it actually was. The light had faded significantly by this time and the resulting images were nothing short of poor. Ah well, still a record of the occasion...
"45428 Runs Round at Pickering"
The Black Five steamed gently around to the head of the train in preparation for a tender first departure back towards Grosmont. Most of the passengers had alighted for some fresh air and a leg stretch during the stop...
We reboarded Car 79 and took our seats once again. The ornate interior of the Pullman was straight out of the 1920's. I really love the way she's been restored. The Met Cam Pullman's are very nice but they just don't have the charm of these older examples...
"Interior of 1928-Built Pullman Car No79"
Leaving Pickering, the Black Five got the train away smartly as we steamed into the darkness of the moors. As the track weaves away along the foot of the hills, the train is engulfed in darkness by this time of night. The 5MT steamed out past New Bridge engine shed where sister Black Five No44806 and B1 No61264 sat resting for the night, with smoke still drifting casually from their chimneys. I suppose their duties will see them starting out from Pickering tomorrow! Desert was served on the return and very nice it was too...
Following the mammoth 4-course meal (Eddie the Late would have been proud!) we enjoyed a nice cup of tea to settle the stomach. The after dinner mint was very nearly too much to bear!... 
At just before 10:30pm, the Black Five rolled gently back into Platform 3 at Grosmont after a most enjoyable evening out. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is wonderful. The scenery is great, the climbs are strong and there is a thriving steam locomotive fleet. I can heartily recommend the Pullman Dining Trains to anybody: they offer a great night (or day) out and are great value for money in my book: the food was great! Here is a final blurry shot of a dimly lit Grosmont Station...
"Final View of Grosmont Station"
What a pleasant two days viewing the goings on at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Tomorrow we're off home but I'm so glad that I've finally visited the NYMR. The Pullman Dining Train is absolutely superb and well worth an evening out. One thing I will say, before I finish this post, is that I was fairly disappointed with some of the other diners in our vicinity tonight. One couple moaned about everything and not because it wasn't nice but because they didn't like the menu which had 4 choices for each course and was available before you booked. I don't know what some people want. The service and presentation of the entire evening was wonderful - I couldn't fault it. Some people just can't be pleased. Well done NYMR - we loved it. All the best everyone and thanks for reading, Sam...

5 comments:

heretolearn said...

Great storytelling, I would like to take the trip as described by you.
Next time, wait for a known rough bit of track and ................ apologize profusely for whatever was necessary to shut up the whiners .

heretolearn said...

You might also enjoy these.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TipWmcBZstw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOkeuCezpJ8

Sam Brandist said...

Thanks for the comments and thanks for reading. I enjoyed the videos of the stationary boiler and engine :)

Jeff said...

Lucky you Sam getting to spend time with two lovely ladies... I guess a black 5 is a lady even with a male name?

Sam Brandist said...

Hi Jeff. A Black 5 certainly is a "she" shall we say. I've come across many male engines over the years that are still she's! All the best, Sam