Regularly seen in the final years of the Forge Valley line before closure in 1950 was Malton shed's G5 No.67273.

It ran as a push pull locomotive and is captured leaving Scarborough bound for Pickering on the 9th July 1949. The locomotive is at the rear of the train in push mode with the driver operating the regulator and brake from the leading carriage.

Traffic operations

The Forge Valley Railway was operated by three railway companies throughout it’s relatively short life. The North Eastern Railway (N.E.R.) for forty one years from 1882 to 1923, followed by the London & North Eatern Railway (L.N.E.R.) for twenty five years from 1923 to 1948. Finally British Railways (B.R.) for just under three years from 1948 to 1950. Locomotives to work the line would typically be allocated to Pickering, Malton and Scarborough sheds.

During its lifetime a variety of smaller N.E.R. designed locomotives operated both passenger and pickup goods services, some more common than others. Typical local passenger branch line trains were originally handled by the Edward Fletcher designed Bogie Tank Passenger (B.T.P.) 0-4-4 locomotives, which became the L.N.E.R. G6. These were superseded by the 2-4-2 A class (L.N.E.R. F8) which were designed T.W. Worsdell. The following locomotive superintendent of the N.E.R. Wilson Worsdell, returned to the 0-4-4 wheel arrangement with the O Class, which became the L.N.E.R. G5. It would be the G5 that featured heavily throughout the majority of the Forge Valley Lines’ existence, from the turn of the century when they were built to well after the last passenger train, when the class was withdrawn between 1955 and 1958.

Despite the line having a supposed speed limit of 25mph, the timetable was timed for this speed including stops, making it impossible to keep to time without breaking the speed limit.

During L.N.E.R. days, on rare occasions larger types such as the D49 ‘Hunt’ class, could be seen if the regular motive power had failed. One such locomotive was No.62774 ‘The Staintondale’ which was allocated to Pickering Shed between 1948 and 1951 for use on the Gilling branch.


It was recorded in 1895 that a pickup goods service would depart Scarborough, bound for Gilling, via Pickering. This train would arrive at Gilling just after midday.


By this time, the Scarborough originating pickup goods went as far as Helmsley, via Pickering. It arrived at Helmsley at 12:30pm and left to retrace it’s route at 2:00pm.


At the time of the formation of the L.N.E.R., Pickering locomotive shed, a sub shed of Malton was home to four N.E.R. designed locomotives; G5’s No.1888 & No.2088, a G6 No.297 and J22 No.192. The G5 and older G6 would typically be seen on passenger workings and the J22 on pickup goods on both the Forge Valley and Gilling trains.


Sentinel Railcars

In 1927, the LNER started to trial steam railcars built by Sentinel Wagonworks of Shrewsbury on the Malton to Whitby and Scarborough lines. Their introduction was brought about due to increased competition from road traffic as a way to cut costs. The trials were deemed a success and as the Forge Valley Line had easy gradients and light traffic, it was ideally suited. It became the first railway in the area to have a railcar service in 1928 and this motive power continued for nearly two decades.

The railcars could be driven from either end and were turned out in the L.N.E.R. touring stock colours of green and creme. At busy times the railcars capacity wasn’t enough and occasionally would haul an additional coach, often an ex Great Northern Railway six wheeler. Later eight four wheeled trailers were specially built for the railcars, finished in matching green and creme. These trailers had 56 seats plus standing space, but were unpopular with passengers.

‘Diagram 89’ Sentinel Railcar No.237 ‘Rodney’ was built in March 1928 and sent to operate the passenger service between Pickering and Scarborough a month later.

Only a few months after this, December 1928 saw construction of ‘Diagram 96’ No.2136 ‘Hope’, which also went new to the Forge Valley Line and was a common sight until at least 1930. No.2136 most likely moved away from the Forge Valley Line in 1932, when it became the first Sentinel Railcar allocated to Whitby.

Meanwhile an 0-6-0 tender locomotive, J25 class (N.E.R. P1) No.1992 was operating the pickup goods and was a regular sight until at least 1930.

Also in 1928 a class Y3 0-4-0 Sentinel shunting locomotive, No.81 was allocated to Pickering shed. It remained at Pickering until 1942 when it was replaced by No.192, another Y3 which remained until it was withdrawn in 1952, by which time the Forge Valley route had closed. No.192 became No.8157 in 1946 and despite surviving into British Railways ownership for four years kept the same number. The shunters were equipped with vacuum brakes so they could stand in for a failed Sentinel Railcar on the service to Scarborough, although it is thought this never actually happened.

Two regulars to the Forge Valley Line during the 1930’s were six cylinder ‘Diagram 97’ railcars No.2218 ‘Telegraph’ and No.2236 ‘British Queen’. Both of which were built in 1929 and withdrawn in December 1944. From new ‘British Queen’ went straight to Malton shed.

After passenger services were withdrawn between Malton and Gilling, the Sentinel Railcar operating the Forge Valley line would work an afternoon service from Pickering to Helmsley to take school children home. This service continued until the Forge Valley Line closed.


Seamer Auction Mart

From the 18th February 1929, an experimental special livestock train calling at all stations ran on alternate Monday's from Malton via Gilling and Pickering to Seamer for the Auction Mart. A coach was attached to the formation so the owners of livestock could travel with their animals.


Return of the push-pull

Malton Shed’s ‘Diagram 97’ No.2219 ‘New Fly’ was withdrawn on 15th June 1946, which marked the end of Sentinel Railcar use on the Forge Valley Line.

The Sentinel railcars did improve the service, but reliability was a problem never overcome. They were gradually phased out across the L.N.E.R. network up to nationalisation and were replaced by push-pull services, using converted N.E.R. coaching stock. On the Forge Valley, these were operated by a G5 class locomotive for those final few years. The engine would usually face towards Scarborough.


At the time of nationalisation, Malton shed was home to No.67273, which was a regular on the Forge Valley push pull service until closure. Indeed it was this locomotive which hauled the last passenger train on 3rd June 1950. Shortly afterwards, no doubt surplus to requirements, No.67273 moved on to Darlington shed in October 1950 and was eventually withdrawn while allocated to Selby shed in May 1957.


Stone traffic

Once the tracks were lifted between Seamer and Thornton Dale, the remaining stone traffic from Slaters Quarry was often in the hands of the familiar G5 class locomotives. No.s 67308 and 67315 being two examples identified having done so. No.67308 was allocated to Pickering shed in February 1953, remaining there until being withdrawn in November 1955. No.67315 was allocated to Malton shed a few months after this in April 1956 and remained until being withdrawn in December 1958.

D49 “Hunt” class No.62730 ‘Berkshire’ was another locomotive identified as having operated stone trains from Thornton Dale.


In 1955, Malton Shed had on its roster to work to Thornton Dale and back at 3:15pm.


Pickering Shed was finally closed in April 1959.