The current section of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway was originally opened as the Whitby & Pickering Railway in 1835, and operated using horse-power. It was designed to make Whitby more accessible to inland towns by traversing the difficult climb over the high moors. The popular line soon reached York, and continued on after grouping with the London & North Eastern Railway in 1923, and after Nationalisation in 1948.
In 1965, British Rail closed the line to passengers, and all services stopped the following year. However, the restoration campaign was rapid, and a section of the track was purchased from British Rail in 1967. The preservation group was allowed to keep a much larger section than originally planned, to prevent access roads and a cark park from spoiling the picturesque moors.
After a few short runs, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway opened for full service in 1973, and has continued ever since. At 18 miles in length, the railway is the second longest preserved line in the UK. It is also the most popular with visitors, mainly due to the incredible, unrivalled scenery, and the options for many walks in the local area.