This film is part of Free


Desolate stations, abandoned locos and derelict tracks under grey skies become transformed by dedicated volunteers, unmotivated by money, into a marvellous steam railway.

Documentary 1974 13 mins


This exceptionally lyrical film of the resurrection of the North York Moors Railway was made a year after it re-opened in 1973. Teams of enthusiastic volunteers, some quite young, repair the track and clean out steam loco boilers, all to the tune of “I’d like to be a lengthman” by former railwayman Dave Goulder. With the work done, we travel along one of the first steam train outings over the newly renovated and inspiring North York Moors line.

This film was one of several made by the Teesside College of Art in the 1970s under the name of Cumulus Films. This was started by a student at Teesside College of Art, David Eadington and two lecturers there, Murray Martin and Graham Denman, who went on to found Amber Films. The films document working class life in the north east. The Whitby to Pickering line was one of the lines closed by Beeching: the last passenger train ran in March 1965 and the last freight train in July 1966. In 1967, the NYMR Preservation Society was formed, and they eventually purchased the line, raising money through open weekends and steam galas, becoming a charitable trust to ensure it wasn’t run for personal profit.