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One of three c.1837 Whitby & Pickering Railway tickets sold for £1050 by David Duggleby.

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The Whitby & Pickering Railway (now the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, a steam-hauled route) was built in the hope of halting the gradual decline of the port of Whitby.

Following the success of the nearby Stockton and Darlington Railway (the world’s first public railway to use steam locomotives, opened on September 27, 1825) and the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (September 15, 1830), a report into the proposed route was commissioned by engineer George Stephenson.

The bill received royal assent in May 1833 and just two years later (June 8, 1835), the line between Whitby and the Tunnel Inn (now Grosmont) was open, with the full route operating from May 26, 1836. Alongside goods wagons, three coaches were acquired from Beeston & Melling of Manchester allowing for a passenger service that connected at Pickering with the stagecoach to York.

Unused examples

These hand-cut paper tickets – a set of three for the journeys from Whitby, Tunnel and Pickering – were unused with the spaces for inked in information still blank. Each around 9 x 2in (22 x 5cm), they included the note: When seated, be pleased to hold this ticket in your hand till called for. They were dated to c.1837.

According to information included to the mount of a recent frame, this was one of only 12 surviving sets. The vendor (a railwayana collector) had sold others in the past, each apparently taken from unused sheets.

Specialist Jeremy Wood said the lot offered on February 22 had attracted decent pre-sale interest at its £400-500 estimate with the bidding contest pitching the internet against a local historian who tendered the winning bid over the phone.