SPRING has sprung and the railway looks fantastic as a result!

We are one of the few heritage railways, and indeed one of the few tourist attractions, that stays open all winter.

We've run trains every weekend and throughout the holidays (Boxing Day a notable exception last year, sadly, due to the floods), whereas many other operations shut down.

Many of you have enjoyed a winter of cosy carriages, which are heated by steam from the locomotive; the glow of the fires in the station booking halls; and marvelled at the network of gas lamps that lit many of the stations as dusk fell early on the shorter days.

We rounded off the winter season with our Steam Gala, where we had hoped to enjoy a number of visiting locomotives, but events conspired against us.

We were notified just days before the event of operational challenges that prevented booked locomotives visiting us via the main line connection at Keighley, and we have also been unable to get steam locos to the railway by road for some months, due to restrictions imposed at Ingrow and now also Haworth (the latter the result of the floods).

We are working with the authorities involved to get these routes of access reopened, but in the meantime have to operate with our home-based fleet.

Despite these setbacks, visitors enjoyed the sight of locomotive number 85, which was built back in 1899, returning to traffic for the first time since 2010. It was particularly special when paired with the 1888-built Coal Tank, which is owned by the National Trust and operated by the Bahamas Locomotive Society who are based at Ingrow.

Seeing this combination of over 200 years of engineering excellence hauling trains up the valley was something very special. The resourcefulness and tenacity of the volunteers organising the event certainly paid off, and we've received great comments from many who visited the event.

As we enter the spring and summer periods, we are preparing for a range of special events, whilst continuing to operate the popular diesel car trains every Wednesday, as well as steam trains every weekend and throughout the school holidays (see the website for dates and times).

New for 2016 is the Steam and Ale Trail event, during which you can hop off the train at each station to enjoy real ale from a selection of local breweries, with each station hosting a different brewery's bar, so there will be plenty of variety to sample.

We are selling 'early bird' discount tickets on the website, or tickets can be purchased on the day.

If real ale is not for you, we are running traditional afternoon tea services over the Easter weekend, on May 1 and 2, and on August 28 and 29.

You will be able to relax in a sumptuous seat and experience the comfort of luxury travel in our opulent Pullman Cars whilst enjoying a traditional, English afternoon tea of sandwiches and cakes plus tea or coffee.