STEAM trains are returning to the North York Moors with a new summer season.

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway says it is going full steam ahead with plans to relaunch services on Saturday May 15.

The heritage railway plans to operate two trains every day across the North York Moors from Pickering to Whitby, as well as an intermediate service between Pickering and Grosmont.

A spokesperson said it would operate with Covid-19 mitigations until the summer holidays, with pre-booked end to end services with a set departure and return time.

All passengers aged 16 years plus, unless exempt, will be required to Track & Trace, adhere to social distancing and wear a face covering, they said.

"Daily services will go on sale to the public from April 26. Anyone who had previously pre-booked for 2020 will be able to re-book from April 19."

The first Pullman Train of the 2021 season will operate from Thursday May 20, with a new Moorlander Spring Lunch Menu.

"Passengers with outstanding Charters and Weddings will be contacted directly to rebook their special day," they said.

"In light of the current government advice, we have made the difficult decision to cancel several of the planned 2021 Special Events.

"However, we are planning to run the Annual Steam Gala, September 22 to 26 and our Christmas Santa Specials (Pickering & Grosmont) on select dates in December from Grosmont and Pickering Stations."

They added that due to a project, previously been agreed before the Government's Exit Plan, the railway would close from June 4 to 8.

General manager Chris Price said it had been a 'huge relief' when the Government announced its roadmap, which now enabled the railway to plan and prepare for when it could reopen.

"It will be great to see the staff and volunteers preparing the engines, stations, shops and tea rooms, ready to welcome passengers once more," he said.

Due to a project, previously agreed before the Government Exit Plan, the railway will be closed June 4 to 8.

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