HOPES of trains once again setting off from Torrington station has moved a small, but significant, step forward. Enthusiasts who want to see trains once more puffing along the Torridge Valley, this week laid just two new lengths of track, extending it to

HOPES of trains once again setting off from Torrington station has moved a small, but significant, step forward.Enthusiasts who want to see trains once more puffing along the Torridge Valley, this week laid just two new lengths of track, extending it to the edges of the old railway platform.In the New Year they are planning to apply for permission to add another 300 yards. If that goes ahead, the foundations will be laid for the establishment of a heritage railway with short train rides.Behind the plan is the Tarka Valley Railway Group, set up just three months ago, but now with a membership of 90.Their track-laying efforts brought help from volunteers of the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway group, who have the experience of laying track for their own heritage railway at Woody Bay.Tarka Valley chairman Phil Simkins said: "This is just the first step on a long journey, which will ultimately bring a lot of benefits to Torrington. Our next step will be to seek permission for the next 300 yards of track, which we hope then to construct in the next few years and provide short train rides. "Because we are a fledgling organisation we want to do a section at a time, in bitesize chunks, so we do not give people an unrealistic expectation of what we can achieve. It is not realistic at this stage to say we will be able to run all the way to Bideford or Barnstaple, although this remains a long term aspiration. This would make it not just a heritage, leisure and pleasure railway, but would also serve the community and be far greener than car or lorry transport. We believe the long term potential exists." Group secretary Rod Garner said: "This is a significant moment. It is now obvious that something is happening."This is both restoring some British railway heritage and will, ultimately, also bring benefits to the town.