After 40 years of waiting, we are a significant step closer to realising our ambition of having a fitting catering facility on the railway.

We have notification of approval of planning permission of our proposed cafe at Oxenhope Station.

There is a way to go before we commence building, not least us needing to agree a funding package for what will be an expensive project, but it is great to report such important progress for the railway as we seek to develop our offering for visitors.

Two studies undertaken by Leeds Metropolitan University business school students have concluded that our passengers generate in excess of £8 million of income for the area, so the importance of us continuing to attract large numbers of visitors to the railway is vital for the local economy. Our Winter Steam Spectacular was our first special event of the year at the beginning of March. The event was very well attended and far outperformed last year’s, which is very encouraging.

We launched into traffic a locomotive with an American heritage, which we affectionately know as Big Jim, and ran special express and goods trains, much to the delight of our passengers.

There are some fantastic photographs of the event online (see our @worthvalley Twitter feed or the railway’s Facebook page for examples).

Looking ahead we are planning our transport operation for Le Grand Depart in July, when we anticipate being the only transport available along the valley.

In the meantime we continue to run steam trains every weekend and during school holidays, so please do join us for a journey back in time.

Go Local Sunday, on April 27, provides a chance for local residents to sample the railway and other attractions for free (watch for further details), but don’t forget that local residents can obtain a significant discount on tickets all year round on normal services (see the website for more information) If you would like to join our volunteering team that keeps the railway running, or you have comments on the railway’s operation, then please do get in touch.