Students from St Joseph's R C Primary School at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway

School travel organiser finds out what the North Yorkshire Moors Railway offers in the form of education, and how a class got on there during a recent poetry-related school trip.

Students from St Joseph's R C Primary School in Pickering visited the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to see the newly restored steam train, Flying Scotsman, which was passing through.

The educational day out gave them the chance to learn about the famous locomotive, as well as take part in a poetry workshop at Pickering station.

The interactive poetry workshop was led by English poet Ian McMillan, and allowed the students a look at train memorabilia to encourage their own poetry creations.

From platform two the students then watched the arrival of the Flying Scotsman from Grosmont Station before performing their poetry in the Reussner Learning Centre. This is an educational space built on platform two, for school groups to use when learning on the heritage railway.

Class teacher Mr Eddy said: “The students had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed learning from Ian McMillan and seeing the world’s most famous locomotive”.

Why North Yorkshire Moors Railway?

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway runs between Whitby and Pickering, and offers a free bespoke educational session for every school that books group travel on one of the trains. Take note that the Flying Scotsman doesn’t always run on this line, although heritage steam trains of a similar kind do.

Workshops in the Reussner Learning Centre range in topic: the poetry workshop as mentioned above, supported by Ian McMillan, is one option for English students, as is The Last Train session – great for children learning about persuasive writing.

This workshop can be adapted to different Key Stages, and looks at how the famous closure of the line in 1965 impacted on local school children, particularly those living on the North York Moors or Esk Valley areas.

Using a slideshow and newspaper reports as stimulus, this workshop will encourage students to represent the children from 1965 and to write a letter, urging those responsible to reconsider closing the line and outlining the effects it will have on their schooling.

Meanwhile, a Forces & Friction – Building Arches session is great for Key Stage 1 to 3 Science, and involves learning about the scientific and engineering principles behind the structure of railway arches on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

Additionally, learning activities on board one of the steam trains are available for Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils; these can involve onboard slideshows and follow up quizzes or talks from a guide on the train.

The class will learn why and when the railway was originally built, how it transformed the lives of local people, plus they’ll get to have a look at photographs, pictures and artefacts from the railway archive collection.

School booking information

Teachers can choose from sessions in Literacy, Science, Engineering, History, Heritage and Drama, all of which can be tailored to the requirements of the class.

To speak with the learning department, teachers should call 01751-473799 or e-mail

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