North Yorkshire Moors Railway cancel Wartime Weekend and will not hold 1940s-themed events during conflict in Ukraine

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway has cancelled its annual Wartime Weekend due to the sensitivity around conflict in Ukraine.

Proceeds from tickets already sold for the October festival will instead be donated to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal.

The NYMR has taken advice from the Heritage Railway Association, which advised members against holding 1940s re-enactment events until peace has been restored.

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The Railway in Wartime Weekend is one of the heritage line's flagship themed events.

Goathland Station (photo: Charlotte Graham)

Chief executive Chris Price said: “We did not think it was right to have a wartime-themed event in the calendar, when the people of Ukraine are facing such a tense, dangerous, and distressing time. Ongoing violence is causing people to flee their homes and become separated from their families.

“We appreciate there will be a lot of disappointed people, but we hope everyone understands our decision, and that as many people as possible will still use the railway on that weekend, thus helping to raise thousands of pounds for the Ukraine appeal.”

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The 1940s weekend was already in the planning stages, though managers admit they were already facing challenges including a shortage of volunteers post-Covid and a 40 per cent drop in the railway's resources.

Director of corporate services Laura Strangeway added: “We have taken guidance from the Heritage Railway Association which has recommended to its membership not to schedule wartime re-enactment events for the foreseeable future, and it is with regret that we will not be hosting the annual event.

“The NYMR is aware of the impact to local businesses and will continue to liaise with stakeholders. It is still planning to host its Annual Steam Gala (22-25 September), Light Spectacular (22-30 October) and Santa Special events (selected dates during December), all of which are great opportunities for local businesses to get involved.”