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Railway In War Time
Colin Sidaway, Features Writer
On a warm October weekend the NYMR hosted a 1940s style festival. The event was over three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and was focussed on Pickering with the stations along the line each taking up a theme based around the steam railway.

Having looked through the list of activities I decided that my favourite location on the line was the one for me. It had changed from Leversham to Le Visham for the event, a French rural railway station that was protected by the Wehrmacht from the Allied forces.

The transformation was complete with infantry on duty on the platforms and the Military Police, Feldgendarmarie, checking everybody's papers and inspecting or rather searching for contraband.

Captain Mannering I presume
There were static exhibits that included a radar station, ack-ack guns, a crashed Messerschmitt, an escaped Russian, together with firing of small arms including a mortar launcher. It was a loud event as the Russian prisoner was recaptured, the pilot of the plane was rescued and a group of American soldiers rounded up before they could storm the station.

Apart from that the trains were full, really full; sardines in a can came to mind.

The visitors were well dressed. I saw Montgomery, a Chelsea Pensioner and Captain Mannering. With Land Army girls all the services were represented as well as nurses and civilians both English and French it was a colourful affair.

With refreshments and entertainment both in the field tent and on the platform it was a happy and jovial day. I don't remember anything in the war years that resembled this festival possibly VE day but I am sure that there was a serious side to the weekend in Pickering as well as giving the heritage railway much needed funds to continue with their work.

The photographs give some indication of the event at Le Visham as the clock was turned back 70 years.

Also by Colin Sidaway...
The Blackburn Beverley
Buenos Aires Comes To Yorkshire
The Oil Can Cafe
The Hidden Tunnel Under Harrogate


Railway In War Time, 19th October 2017, 16:00 PM