STEAM trains could run again between Keighley and Oxenhope from the middle of August thanks to a lottery grant boost.

The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway has received £50,000 from of National Lottery support to help address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on heritage railways.

The grant will allow the volunteer-run railway to complete the replacement of the 115-year-old Bridge 11 at Ingrow, which is needed before trains can run again.

Long-awaited work on the bridge was halted at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and during the lockdown activities were limited to essential maintenance and security tasks along the line.

The railway has been closed to the public since lockdown began, so the charity has had no income from passengers since trains last ran in mid-March.

The K&WVR launched its Worth Saving appeal to raise £200,000 to help it survive as a visitor attraction, and within a few weeks had received £135,000 in donations.

K&WVR chairman Dr Matt Stroh said: “Thanks to the National Lottery and its players we can now complete the work necessary to replace the venerable bridge and will then be in a position to reopen the railway to passengers in the coming weeks.

“Without their support, we would have struggled to meet the additional costs caused by having to pause and then recommence the work at a time when we have had no income from operations for over three months.

“We are so very grateful that the National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting us at this crucial time, especially as they were able to process the application and provide the funds in such a timely manner – it is a lifeline to us and others who are passionate about sustaining heritage for the benefit of all.

“As a result of their funding, we can look forward to reopening the railway to passengers shortly, albeit with continued restrictions to protect the safety of our volunteers and visitors.”

The funding was awarded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund, which has made £50million available to provide emergency funding for those most in need across the heritage sector.

Ros Kerslake, chief executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said the UK-wide fund would address both immediate emergency actions and help organisations to start thinking about recovery.

She said: “Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefiting our personal wellbeing. All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this current crisis.

“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are pleased to be able to lend our support to organisations such as the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway during this uncertain time.”

Charities and organisations across the UK that have been affected by the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus outbreak are being given access to a comprehensive package of support of up to £600 million of repurposed money from the National Lottery

Ros said the money was supporting some of the most vulnerable people in local communities and spanned the arts, community, charity, heritage, education, environment and sports sectors.

The National Lottery raises £30 million every week for good causes, including heritage of local and national importance.