MORE than £1.4m is being invested in expanding and developing train services for the one of the region's most popular tourist resorts.

A large part of the cash for Whitby station is being injected through the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR), which takes thousands of people a year across the Moors.

It means the Moors railway can increase services from three to five a day into the tourist town, also boosting services on the main Esk Valley network rail line from Whitby to Middlesbrough, and opening the way for more excursion trains.

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The Coastal Communities Fund is injecting £800,000, with a further £500,000 through Network Rail and the Railway Heritage Trust putting up £100,000.

Fifty years ago Dr Beeching recommended all lines into Whitby should be closed down. The Esk Valley line survived, but the moors line was closed and volunteers battled for 40 years to restore it, turning it into one of the most successful heritage lines in the country with services into Whitby ensured using the network rail line.

Philip Benham, General Manager of the North Yorkshire Moors Railways said: “This is really exciting news, not only for NYMR, but also for the whole Whitby community.

"This is the ideal start to our 40th Anniversary year, and reflects the growing success of our steam service now in its seventh year. It is also a hugely important boost for the Esk Valley railway line.

“The station is of course owned by Network Rail and run by Northern Rail. We look forward to working with both these partners, and the Esk Valley Railway Development Company to produce a station we can all be proud of.”

Alan Williams, chair of community rail partnership, the Esk Valley Railway Development Company, said: “Fifty years ago in 1963 the Beeching report proposed the withdrawal of all trains to Whitby.

"Now half a century on, how fitting it is to see such a major expansion being announced. The investment is also a welcome vote of confidence in the long term future of the Esk Valley Line.”

The new platform and track are due to come into operation in April 2014 along with improvements in services for passengers at the station.

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