THOUSANDS of people are expected to head to Ryedale at the weekend as the area turns the calendar back to 1943.

The popular three-day Railway In Wartime event attracted as many as 26,000 people to Pickering on the Saturday alone last year.

Visitors will again don 1940s-style clothing and attend re-enactments and entertainment to step back in time to celebrate the crucial role of the railways in the Second World War.

Stations at Pickering, Levisham, Goathland, Grosmont and Whitby will take part in the event to recreate life on the “home front”.

Danielle Ramsey, North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s marketing manager, said the weekend was one of their most popular events of the year, and 2012 promised to be bigger and better.

“This year, we’ve also taken over the Pickering Showground to make the festivities bigger and better than ever before, so we decided to spend a few days taking a taste of the 1940s around the region and hopefully recruit some more participants for the Railway in Wartime Weekend.”

With visitor numbers expected to reach an all-time high, a park and ride service will be in operation from Pickering Showground, with visitors welcome to browse around a range of vintage stalls, watch living history displays and even try out a Spitfire simulator.

Mayor of Pickering, Coun William Oxley, said the weekend was the perfect opportunity to showcase the town.

He said: “It is the biggest weekend in terms of bringing people into the town and is a huge deal in terms of boosting business. The wartime event is important to the town’s economy and we are very appreciative of the people of Pickering who are content to go with the flow.”