VISITORS have been flocking to the Yorkshire Coast and North York Moors market towns following a major campaign by Welcome to Yorkshire.

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) has reported that many have come from "major centres of population" within a two-hour drive time.

The railway said it has also seen a huge increase in the number of passengers travelling between Whitby and Pickering since the opening of a second platform at Whitby Station last August. The railway is now running up to five trains a day between the two stations; previously it ran three.

Danielle Ramsey, marketing manager at the NYMR, said: “The second platform at Whitby has made a huge difference – within three months of it opening, we were achieving the passenger numbers that we had hoped to reach within three years.”

The railway hopes to boost numbers even further with the help of Welcome to Yorkshire’s Ryedale’s Market Towns, Yorkshire Coast and North York Moors campaign. The campaign is spearheaded by a colourful fold-out brochure featuring attractions, events, festivals and accommodation in Kirkbymoorside, Helmsley, Malton, Norton and Pickering.

Janet Deacon, Welcome to Yorkshire’s area director for North Yorkshire, said: “The Market Towns campaign has been a great success – we’ve had a lot of day visitors from the big cities which are within a two-hour drive time of the towns, including Middlesbrough, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and York.

“Last year – the first year of the campaign – we printed 20,000 brochures, and every one was snapped up. This year, we’ve doubled the print run, so 40,000 are available across Yorkshire.”

Copies of the brochure can be obtained from local Tourist Information Centres.