I don’t need much encouragement to become a kid again!
And a ride the North Bay Railway is something I do every year, even though I’m now aged over 50 …
Visitors love it and locals have a passion for it, too.
This miniature railway is one of my favourite Scarborough attractions.
But, how did this much-loved location steam into view?
We have to go back nearly a century to see the beginnings of the North Bay Railway, which was the idea of the respected Borough Engineer, Harry Smith.
The railway, known as an ‘out and back’ railway, was constructed in the winter of 1930 to 1931. The track was laid, and quotes obtained for the locomotives, with the tender going to Hudswell, Clark and Co. Ltd. of Leeds. The magnificent, shiny engines are actually diesel powered in the ‘shape’ of a steam locomotive and it is thought this innovation was a world-first at the time.
By the end of the 1931 season, an incredible 418,875 passengers had travelled on the line. One of the locomotives, Neptune, covered 6,210 miles … a hard-working engine!
With the start of the Second World War, the North Bay Railway stopped running between 1940 and 1945.
Regular users will be aware of the sea-faring names of three of the four engines, including Neptune at 26 horsepower, proudly wearing Brunswick Green paintwork and Triton, sporting Apple Green colours.
Two more locomotives arrived in 2006: Poseidon (in BR Experimental Blue, built in 1933) and Robin Hood in Metropolitan Rad, built in 1932.
It’s always fun to guess which engine is in use for your journey!
So why do I love the North Bay Railway? It’s fun! I love to see the kid’s faces when they see a stunning ‘steam’ engine puff into view. There’s the whole excitement thing of buying a ticket, choosing your carriage and waiting for the guard to blow the whistle … and then we’re off!
Of course, we go past the Water Chute, the lake and see the restored Open Air Theatre. We ALWAYS make spooky sounds when going under the longer tunnel and wave at people walking towards the North Bay. And the views of the North Bay, the crazy golf, the Sea Life Sanctuary and the distant Castle are hard to beat.
The Peasholm Park and Scalby Mills stations have ticket offices and platforms, just like a real railway line. And the track measures seven eighths of a mile from start to finish, a very picturesque journey that I never fail to enjoy.
Kylie Minogue helped the North Bay Railway go viral when she performed at the Open Air Theatre in 2019. However, we all know that the North Bay Railway will always be a Yorkshire attraction and is one the best around … or at least I think so!