The Tarka Valley railway £50,000 appeal is progressing well and its new ‘king point’ has been purchased.

The right-handed point and accessories will be delivered in March and used to create a siding leading off the main line at the Puffing Billy in Torrington.

It will bring to fruition phase one of the heritage railway extension plans, with ambitions to eventually reopen the line between Torrington and Bideford, running beside the Tarka Trail.

The preservation group launched its appeal to help raise money for the new components in October and says it has gone so well that it has been able to place the order with KGJ Price of Bedwas.

The original railway closed in 1984 after more than a century of operation.

The line, once a route for the Atlantic Coast Express, and closed as part of the Beeching plan, has already seen an increase in visitor numbers over the last few years.

Volunteers meet at the railway every Thursday to carry out work and are always keen to welcome new members interested in finding out more.

Digging out of the trackbed will start this month, with bottom ballast dropped as soon as possible thereafter ready for the new trackwork being laid.

Once the point is in place, the running line will be extended to the first overbridge (bridge number 136), the present limit of operations.

The rail and sleepers needed to complete this first extension are already on site awaiting installation once the new point is in place.

The siding can then be laid to allow shunting of vehicles to get them in the right position ready for operating trains.

A statement from the group said: "The railway's members and friends continue to be very supportive as are local organisations, but more is needed to reach the target.

"Please help make this project a success by contributing towards the appeal."

If you would like to donate, please send cheques made out to Tarka Valley Railway to 'Tarka Valley Railway CIO, Torrington Station, Devon, EX38 8JD', or online to Barclays Bank, sort code 20-04-59, account number 33321045 quoting 'King point appeal'.

Find out more on the Tarka Valley Railway CIO Facebook page.