On 6 March 1965 the last passenger services ran over the route from Malton to Whitby. The line closed completely north of Pickering (today this section is the North Yorkshire Moors Railway), but remained open from Rillington Jcn (Malton) to Pickering for freight until 1 July 1966. During this period, on the night of 2 June 1965, the Royal Train conveying the Duke of Edinburgh was stabled overnight on the line at Marishes Road from whence on the morning of the 3rd the Duke made a visit to the then new Early Warning Station at RAF Fylingdales. The train was worked by York based Gresley V2 2-6-2 No 60886 which after the Duke’s departure proceeded to Pickering to run-round. Thus the Duke and his party were the last ‘passengers’ to use this stretch of railway.

It was the job of the Area Manager to welcome Royalty whenever they used a station on the patch - a role that at one time would have been carried out by the Station Master. When the Royal Train was being used for journeys from London, it was common practice to have a late evening departure from the relevant main line terminus. As Area Manager, first at York and then especially at King’s Cross, I came to meet most members of the Royal Family.

My first encounter with the Duke of Edinburgh took place when he arrived by Royal Train at the rural North Yorkshire station of Church Fenton for a visit to the RAF station of the same name. I had been warne