YP Letters: Lost chance to bring our history to life on Yorkshire heritage railway

The Duchess of kent opens the Grosmont to Pickering section of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in 1973.
The Duchess of kent opens the Grosmont to Pickering section of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in 1973.
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From: John Roberts, St John’s Court, St John’s, Wakefield.

WHAT is happening to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway? In their wisdom, they have decided to ban the Second World War re-enactment to comply with equalities legislation as some people were offended by the sight of people dressed as German soldiers at Levisham (for the day, renamed an occupied French village named Le Visham).

A similar thing happened on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway some years ago; the complaint was that some were dressed in SS uniforms.

Personally, I agree that is gratuitously offensive, a bridge too far as it were, but the KWVR did not ban the whole event.

I think it was TS Eliot who famously said that ‘humankind cannot stand too much reality’ or words to that effect.

The idea behind a wartime re-enactment is to recreate an exciting, enjoyable, educational and authentic experience.

In a world where many people live their lives through a small screen bubble, it is refreshing to step back to a different time and see how people lived.

I went to a similar event on the East Lancashire Railway, and spoke to a chap dressed for the German equivalent of the Home Guard. As someone who only knew of Captain Mainwaring and his men on Dad’s Army, bless ‘em, it was interesting to discover that a similar thing existed in Germany.

Even Rawtenstall station had been given a German name, with a field hospital. This brought 
real history to life in an imaginative way.

The ban on this event is not a step forward, but a sanitisation of history, succumbing to the snowflake culture of complaint.

If some people do not like what they see, they should do something else – as with any other choice in life.

I recently came across some of my father’s cine film, taken at Grosmont Station in the summer of 1972. I have transferred it to DVD. The footage shows something of the heroic, pioneering days of the early NYMR, when trains could only run up to Goathland summit.

No one is more delighted than me at the way the railway has developed since that time, and that is why I, and many others, were so horrified when mindless louts vandalised some LNER teak carraiges last year.

But really this is a policy decision too far, and I hope not the the end of the wedge in spoiling the unique character which people go to see at the NYMR.

From: Christopher Ball, Finkil Street, Hove Edge, Brighouse.

IN the crazy, politically-correct world in which we now live, I regrettably understand the decision by the Board of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to end the once-a-year activity at Levisham Station when it is depicted as a village under German occupation.

Logically, all cinemas, TV channels and the like should now cease to show films like The Longest Day, The Desert Fox, and the Colditz Story (just for starters).

While we are at it, let us expunge from the record the largest part of the career of the German actor, Anton Diffring, who made a living playing the part of German soldiers, even though his father was Jewish.

Ticket to fines on the trains

From: Roger Backhouse, Orchard Road, Upper Poppleton, York.

SOME passengers on the York to Harrogate line operated by Northern will find it difficult to avoid fines if the company persists in ending the convenience of on-board ticket purchase from the conductor guard.

The newly-installed ticket machine at Poppleton doesn’t take cash. That may be understandable for the company but many in Poppleton prefer to pay cash. Even more dislike ticket machines which are inevitably slower. I wonder how many teenagers will carry bank debit cards? Few I suspect.

As only one machine is provided, passengers have to get to the station earlier to buy a ticket and hope there is no queue.

If travelling westwards, they have to be there even earlier to buy a ticket before the level crossing gates are shut. There’s no footbridge.

I sometimes think rail companies hate their staff. I now wonder if they hate their passengers too, they certainly go out of their way to make travelling a trial and not a pleasure.

From: ME Wright, Harrogate.

I’VE just received an email from Chancellor Philip Hammond, listing the Government’s cuts in income tax etc. It looks good in print, but I am puzzled by his claim that freezing fuel duty again is “helping to make your journeys easier”.

Following January’s customary rip-off rail fare increases, I can see how this cut might have encouraged yet more people 
to choke the roads even 
further with their cars, but 
how does that make anyone’s journeys easier?

Not for the first time, when it comes to transport, Philip Hammond seems to be embracing the lexicon of Macavity Grayling in some unsavoury financial alliance.

From: Bernard Hill, National Avenue, Hull.

WHAT an invigorating picture John Cridland paints for the future of transport in the North of England (The Yorkshire Post, April 5).

Yet, if you read further into the piece, what do we see? The same as always, concentrated on that link between Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.

Rail links to be upgraded, tunnels to be revisited, all for the sake of saving a few minutes on a train journey.

Where is the mention of the two major ports that serve the North of England? Namely Hull and Liverpool.

Despite all his claims it is obvious that Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds are seen as the epicentre of the North, and anything east of the A1 and north west of Manchester will have to do with the crumbs.