The North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) is warning it may not survive the coronavirus epidemic without help.

The steam railway between Pickering and Whitby has delayed the opening of its 2020 season indefinitely.

Now it is warning that as a charity it can't claim compensation for lack of business and it is facing a major financial crisis.

"We could potentially lose up to £1 million over the upcoming weeks," it warns in a statement on its website.

It has launched a public appeal for funds.

The statement says: "Figures of this magnitude could threaten the very existence of the railway. Please help now and support the NYMR to ensure we survive.

The statement says: "The NYMR is a registered charity (501388) and without operating this would have a substantial impact on its future.

"Please help by donating to give the railway a fighting chance to be able to ‘steam on’ in its current form once the pandemic is over.

"The NYMR can’t claim insurance compensation for business interruption.

The government has not offered monetary aid to charities yet.

The only government help currently available would put the railway into significant debt, which may take years to pay off."