Access to the tranquil wilderness that is the North York Moors is set to be improved following the award of a £29k grant by TransPennine Express (TPE) to the Esk Valley Community Rail Partnership (CRP) and Moorsbus, a not for profit community bus operator.
Connections to the North York Moors will be enhanced via a new ‘MoorsPlus’ service, allowing seamless and straightforward travel from a TPE train via the Esk Valley Railway and then on to a Moorsbus operated service, straight into the heart of this picturesque part of the country.
‘MoorsPlus’ will connect customers by bus from villages in the North York Moors with stations on the Esk Valley Line, which runs between Whitby and Middlesbrough, at Danby where trains for Middlesbrough will connect into TPE services for destinations across the North, including York, Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester International Airport.
The grant is the first to be provided through ‘Growth’, TPE’s £350k fund for CRP’s that aims to deliver improvements identified by CRPs across the North and into Scotland.
Piers Elias, Development Manager for the Esk Valley Community Rail Partnership said: “The funding from TransPennine Express has enabled the Esk Valley line to become connected into both the TransPennine Express network and villages across the North York Moors. Visitors and residents will now benefit from being connected across the North of England through this new integrated bus and train service. The partnership will help reduce the burden of cars in the countryside, increase rail travel and give greater access to our part of the Moors for anyone without a car. We’re all winners be that socially, economically or environmentally.”
Helen Gundry, Director for Moorsbus, said: “During this summer customers can travel on TransPennine Express trains and then the Esk Valley railway to get a bus to museums, castles, cafes and pubs, or make a great weekend break in the area. The grant has connected parts of the North York Moors by rail and bus that are currently not accessible by anyone without a car. We look forward to working with TransPennine Express to develop the service further with integrated ticketing.”
Graham Meiklejohn, Regional Development Manager for TransPennine Express, said: “The application made by the Esk Valley CRP to our fund stood out for creating a genuine interchange between train services with a bus service that connected parts of the North York Moors currently not served by public transport. An attractive route has been created for anyone wanting to leave the car at home, opening up economic opportunities for the communities and areas served.”
The bus service will be operated by Moorsbus with buses provided by Reliance Motor Services, a small family firm based near York who operate buses in the North Yorkshire area. Buses will be fully accessible and will have 44 seats on board. Buses will operate every Saturday and Monday from the 1st of May 2017 to the 30th of September 2017. Timetables and fares are to be found at www.moorsbus.org
Moorsbus also operate a network of Sunday and Bank Holiday services that connect other parts of the North York Moors with TPE services at Malton and Thirsk.