Monday, 26 July 2010

Livestock, Tractors.... and Trains

What a beautiful station! The DVLR certainly had an eye for a good timber building.

It’s easy to miss out on local attractions in favour of days out a bit further afield and, whilst living on the edge of the Yorkshire Wolds (when I worked at the NRM in York) there were a number of museums in close proximity that we always meant to go to; Elvington Air Museum was one, along with the Tank Museum at Beverley (now closed, I think). However, other spare time commitments - including volunteering on the North York Moors Rly – meant that many such trips never happened.

Now that places like York, Fangfoss and Pocklington are places to travel to as visitors rather than 'locals', there’s more incentive to make the effort to patronise such attractions and one of those at the top of our ‘hit list’ was the Museum of Farming at Murton. Located just outside York, it’s a great museum with loads of old farm tractors, implements and machinery. If you’re interested in such things, it’s definitely worth a journey. Having driven past it nearly every day on my way to and from the Railway Museum, it always looked quite small, but me & Mrs D were there for most of Saturday although I think we were the only visitors who took such a deep interest in the various threshing, baling and furrowing equipment!

Having both worked in museums, we can be a little over-critical of some institutions, but we loved this place! The only drawback was the lack of a decent array of animals on show; cows in particular. I think it may be my Irish cattle farmer ancestry, but I’ve always had a real interest in cows and the sole black Dexter on display made me a little uneasy. Cows are naturally social animals (with other cows!) and keeping one singly can lead to depression and this young lady certainly looked a bit fed up.

Anyway, Murton is also home to the Derwent Valley Light Railway Society (DVLR), including a half-mile-or-so of preserved track. Being the only surviving stretch of the former privately-owned line from York through Dunnington towards Wheldrake, the line has a fascinating history. A handful of small diesel shunters are in residence, along with a single ‘steamer’ which sadly is not operational. Although train rides are only offered on Sundays, there was a bit of activity on the Saturday with an ex-BR ‘03’ and a Ruston 0-4-0 pootling about, shunting wagons around. The Ruston, incidentally, is painted in Load Haul colours and carries the number 97088, which made me titter a bit!

Load Haul-liveried Ruston 0-4-0 97088 idles away in the sidings.

There are some great little engines to be seen, mostly diesel-powered.

The original DVLR station building was originally sited at Wheldrake and has been lovingly rebuilt at Murton. It’s certainly one of the most attractive station buildings I’ve seen, both inside and out. I’ve been planning a small layout based on the DVLR for some time and this visit certainly gave me lots of inspiration. I’ve also learned that the Farming Museum also houses all of the DVLR’s archives within its library and study centre, so a return visit is looking likely. I’d love to build a model of the station building, if nothing else, so a trip with a tape measure and notebook may be in order!

I couldn't get to 03079, so had to make do with a few shots through a rustic fence in the 'Viking village'!

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