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 North Yorkshire Moors Railway Wartime Weekend
Pictures by Stephen A. Carr

Focused around the stations on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, the Wartime Weekend takes the railway back to 1943, remembering the essential railway workers who kept the transport system running. Each station on the line has different displays ranging from period vehicles, air raid shelters, army field kitchens, period dancing demonstrations, plus of course civilian and military re-enactors. Because each area is effectively a different event, I am enlarging the usual page of pictures to one page per location.

The largest area of displays is at Pickering Station and this also extends into the town, where many shops and pubs are turned back to the '40's, complete with period entertainment. The next station up the line is Levisham. This station has changed its name for the weekend to Le Visham, and is set in occupied France with a guarding German Garrison. Further North again is Goathland Station, back in wartime England. The last station on the line is Grosmont where last year there was a small parade.

Pickering Station

Physical preparation for the Wartime Weekend begins the week before the event at Pickering Station. This involves transforming the station back to the 1940's. The work is carried out by volunteers who help with the running of the station all year round. Part of the transformation involves replacing or hiding non-period signs, building the entrance to the air raid shelter, building the NAFFI hut, taping up the windows etc. 

prep1.jpg (50359 bytes) prep2.jpg (56031 bytes) prep3.jpg (57865 bytes) Left:- Building the entrance to the air raid shelter and taping up windows to prevent flying glass in case of a nearby blast.
Right:- Assembling the NAFFI hut which served tea throughout the weekend. prep4.jpg (36069 bytes) prep5.jpg (46538 bytes) prep6.jpg (56747 bytes)

Parked outside the station were several civilian and military vehicles, and one which particularly caught my eye was the blue Singer two seat car seen below. Several major leaders and personalities were seen during the weekend, and Mr Churchill himself made a speech to the gathered troops from platform 2 of Pickering Station. Among some of the displays in the Pickering Station car park were dioramas by the US 101st Airborne and 42nd Field Hospital, military and civilian vehicles, plus a halftrack and at times, two Chaffee tanks, 'though they appeared at several locations throughout the weekend.

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Throughout the day, frequent 'Air Raids' saw civilians and the military run for the air raid shelter on the platform of Pickering station. At one point, a 'direct hit' set alight to the pump house, but the fire was fortunately brought under control as can be seen below. In the car park behind the station, a NAFFI truck was serving tea etc to calm the nerves of those caught in the air raid.

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Casualties from the raid were quickly taken for first aid. Also on show here were some civilian displays including fresh vegetables in the back of a green grocers van. Getting the Chaffee tanks in and out of the station car park was a very tight squeeze, even with one of the gates removed, and took several minutes of positioning to get a clear run through. While seen individually across the weekend, it took until mid Sunday before I found all of the 'Dads Army' Home Guard together.

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Pickering Town Page 2