PLANS to re-open 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 set 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, and YWR said its design made it ideal for accommodating visitors. It will be transported to the Wolds line’s base in Sledmere.

“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,” said YWR chairman Peter Dymock.

“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 railway has funded its acquisition through cash reserves, loans and donations from members.