The Whitby and Pickering Railway was built as the culmination of attempts to halt the gradual decline of the port of Whitby on the east coast of the United Kingdom. The basic industries of Whitby, whaling and shipbuilding, had been in decline for years and it was felt that opening up better links with the interior of the country would help to regenerate both town and port.
Until the turnpike to Pickering was opened in 1759, Whitby was better connected to the rest of the country by sea than it was by land; even then the difficult climb over the high moors was still an obstacle. Stage Coach services did not start until 1795 and Mail Coaches (thrice weekly) until 1823.
The Whitby and Pickering Railway opened throughout in 1836 (one of the earliest railways in Yorkshire) and remained a horse worked railway for all its independent life. The Whitby and Pickering Railway was absorbed into the York and North Midland Railway in 1845 and was converted into a conventional double tracked steam worked railway.
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—Angela Carter (19401992)