THE reinstatement of a rail link which could see trains running from York through Ryedale to Whitby is now the centre of a petition.

Reopening the link between Malton and Pickering has been mooted ever since the line was closed in 1965. Now Coun Philip Trumper of Whitby Town Council wants people to sign his online petition.

He said: “I am not expecting thousands and thousands of people to sign it, but I would like to see it back on the agenda. I know there’s a lot of interest at Whitby Town Council and in Malton and Norton.

“North Yorkshire County Council is kind of behind it but there are a few obstacles in the way – not literally – most of the track is still there.”

In 2000 a study by Mouchel found that a small number of buildings had been built near the track, but said they could be “reasonably overcome” and the cost of opening the line was then estimated at £18million.

Coun Trumper said the reinstatement could see the possibility of steam trains running between York and Whitby, though he said bosses at the historic North Yorkshire Moors Railway, were against having mainline trains using a section of their track.

He said: “I think they worry it could affect their heritage and I can see their argument but recovering the line from Malton to Pickering opens up many new possibilities – you could run stream trains from York to Whitby.”

A spokeswoman for NYMR said they were not against the link, but said there was concern over the effect it would have on the “heritage railway”. “As a lead tourist attraction in North Yorkshire we bring about £30million to the local economy,” she said.