A HERITAGE railway in North Yorkshire has won approval to keep running steam and diesel trains for at least another ten years.

The North Yorkshire Moors Railways (NYMR) succeeded in gaining an £800,000 grant from the Coastal Communities Fund earlier this year.

Together with £500,000 in Network Rail funding, this will allow a second platform to be reopened and passenger facilities to be improved at Whitby station.

However, the grant depended on an agreement being reached to extend NYMR’s track access rights, and this has now been approved by the Office of Rail Regulation until at least 2023.

Planning for the project is now being carried out, with the aim of the improvements being ready next April.

Philip Benham, the railway’s general manager, said: “This timely decision is really good news not only for the NYMR, but also the development of tourism in the Whitby area.

“Our success in obtaining the necessary external funding was based on a careful analysis of the economic benefits the project would bring and this announcement brings delivery that much closer.

“We are grateful to Network Rail for their continued support, along with our other partners, and we will be working hard over the next few months to make sure the project is delivered on time.”

NYMR has also agreed a further loan with its bank to allow it to speed up the overhaul of locomotives which require work.