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Yorkshire Wolds Railway restoration plan takes step forward
PLANS to reopen part of a railway line through East Yorkshire and Ryedale have taken a step forward.
The Yorkshire Wolds Railway (YWR) has completed the purchase of a rail coach – its first item of rolling stock – which will be restored as the centrepiece of a visitor centre earmarked to open next year.
YWR’s ambition is to reinstate part of the line, between Driffield and Malton , as a fully operational heritage railway and tourist attraction.
Planning approval has been secured for the visitor centre, with work due to start this autumn. It will house archive documents and objects from the original railway, which closed in 1953, exhibitions about the line’s history, recollections from those who worked and travelled on the route and plans for the future.
The British Railways Mark 1 coach, built in 1957, was once used as a guard van and luggage store.YWR said its design made it ideal for accommodating visitors.
It was previously owned by the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway, from where it will be transported to the Wolds line’s base in Sledmere.
YWR chairman Peter Dymock said: “This is another big step in what has already been an exciting year for us, and we’re sure that once our new coach is on site it will attract a lot of interest from local people and tourists.
“Having something on site which people can see with their own eyes is hugely important in increasing our visibility and our ability to generate income and attract funding, which is vital for our plans to run trains on the line for the first time in more than 50 years.”
The coach will initially provide storage space for the work on the site, with YWR hoping to make further rolling stock purchases so the visitor centre can be expanded.
It has funded its acquisition through cash reserves, loans and donations from members.
Treasurer John Lidster said: “The window of opportunity to purchase this coach was small and it suited our needs, so we needed to react quickly and it’s thanks to the generous assistance of our members that we’ve been able to go ahead.”
Funds are still needed to transport the coach to Sledmere and buy track to place it on. Information on how to make donations or offer sponsorship is available at yorkshirewoldsrailway.org.uk or by phoning 01377 338053.
An open meeting about YWR’s project will be held at the Showground Pavilion, in Driffield, at 7.30pm next Wednesday.