ON Tuesday, August 10, it will be exactly 40 years since the complete closure of the railway lines between Kirbymoorside (without the second 'k') and Gilling, and also between Husthwaite Gate, Gilling and Amotherby; a combined route mileage of 27.

The four-mile section between Amotherby and Malton (East Junction) survived a short while longer, until October 19, 1964. The other relevant sections of line between Pickering (Mill Lane Junction) and Kirbymoorside (6 miles), and between Pilmoor Junction and Husthwaite Gate (3 miles) had previously closed on February 2, 1953, and March 19, 1963, respectively.

The accompanying photograph, taken by myself on Sunday, April 28, 1963, is a reminder of when railways still existed in Ryedale.

It shows the annual Ramblers' excursion from Bradford, consisting of an eight-car diesel multiple unit, departing Helmsley for Nawton and Kirbymoorside. It had previously called at Malton, Hovingham Spa (its official railway name) and Gilling, where it reversed.

The porter-signalman and level crossing keepers employed on the line used to look forward to this train as the two separate Sunday-duty shifts they had to undertake (evening departure from Kirbymoorside was at 7pm) considerably boosted their weekly wage packets!

Updated: 10:40 Wednesday, August 04, 2004