TWO Yorkshire heritage steam railways are calling for financial help to see them through the coronavirus pandemic.

Both the North York Moors Railway and the Wensleydale Railway rely on their summer seasons to keep them afloat, but with being forced to close for the foreseeable future, they are appealing for help.

After a successful start to the year and bright prospects for the summer season, the Wensleydale Railway is closed and facing a tough time.

Chairman of the railway, Guy Loveridge, has stepped in and taken over the day to day running of the heritage line as acting general manager.

He said: “We were all supremely optimistic after the amazing success of Polar Express 2019, and the financial benefit we had, we were able to halve our year on year debts in one fell swoop and, with Tornado back, we had every reason to be optimistic for 2020.

“Sadly, as we all know, the coronavirus has meant the railway, along with so many other tourist attractions and customer-led businesses has had to close.”

The staff hope to return to a full service as soon as allowed.

He said: “I am asking you to dig deep to guarantee the railway is in optimum state when we are able to welcome everyone back onto the Wensleydale Railway. Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; thank you.”

For details of the appeal see the railway’s Facebook page.

NYMR, the steam railway between Pickering and Whitby, has delayed the opening of its 2020 season indefinitely.

Now it is warning that as a charity it can’t claim compensation for lack of business and it is facing a major financial crisis.

“We could potentially lose up to £1 million over the upcoming weeks,” it warns in a statement on its website.

It has launched a public appeal for funds.

The statement reads: “Figures of this magnitude could threaten the very existence of the railway. Please help now and support the NYMR to ensure we survive.

The statement adds: “NYMR is a registered charity (501388) and without operating this would have a substantial impact on its future.

“Please help by donating to give the railway a fighting chance to be able to ‘steam on’ in its current form once the pandemic is over.”