ALMOST 50 years ago the last train left Ryedale along the railways to complete its final journey.

August 10 will mark the fiftieth anniversary since the bulk of the Railways of Ryedale closed down, with Husthwaite Gate, Gilling, Amotherby and Kirbymoorside (railway spelling) the first to close. Malton was the only one which managed to survive until October, 19 1964.

The Railways of Ryedale included lines which used to exist between Bishophouse junction and Sessay Wood Junction, which was later renamed to Pilmoor, and Pickering Mill Lane Junction via Sunbeck Junction, Gilling and Helmsley. There was also lines of about 13 miles between Gilling and Malton East Junction.

The line between Kirbymoorside and Pickering Mill Lane Junction was the first to close and it began to shut down on February 2, 1953 closely followed by Bishophouse Junction, Pilmoor and then Husthwaite Gate on March 19, 1953.

After the lines begin to close it wasn't long before the rest followed and on April 13, 1963 Malton steam engine shed was shut down and as a result, the Malton - Kirbymoorside freight train was reduced to running to just three days a week, on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The last official freight train, a steam engine class J27 65984, ran on August 7, 1964 provided by York Engine Shed to mark the occasion.

The following week, two freight trains were ordered out to collect the empty wagons on Monday, August 10 and Friday, August 14.

Removal of the track began the following year on March 29 and was completed on August 9.

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