The Malton-Driffield Railway wove its way through
North Grimston, Wharram, Fimber, Sledmere, Wetwang, Garton-on-the-Wolds. It served the long desolate chalk quarries of Wharram and Burdale, supplying the chemical industry of Teesside. During the Second World War the line transported evacuees to country estates and troops to training camps; once carrying General de Gaulle on a visit to French soldiers billeted at Malton. The passage in 1948 of the Royal Train, hauled by ‘Irish Elegance’, en route to the Sykes of Sledmere House, proved, alas, its swan song: soon it had been relegated to goods, axed in 1958—though its value was loudly trumpeted in the great snowfall of 1957 when it was the only link for seven long, hard weeks. Today much of the line has been enclosed by farms, sections made into footpaths and large portions reclaimed by rampant nature. Hidden in this wilderness, not far from the ruins of the old Wharram station, can be found the sealed entrance to Burdale Tunnel.'
From 'The Tunnel' by Peter Bell (ST17, due out next summer)