It is full steam ahead for a railway as work continues on an overhaul of a popular tourist attraction which was awarded £1.7 million.

Colne Valley Railway received the cash grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2016 and was also awarded £200,000 by Braintree Council’s Business Growth Loan Fund.

Since then the railway, in Castle Hedingham, has been upgrading its site and developing new facilities for visitors.

As part of the changes two new roles have been created.

Paul Lemon, chairman of Colne Valley Railway Preservation Ltd, originally contacted Braintree Council when the attraction was looking likely to close.

He said: “We are extremely grateful to Braintree Council for giving us the opportunity to secure a future for our business.

“When you are dealing with expansion, particularly around specialist areas, getting the right support and finance to deliver such plans is crucial to success.

“We would like to encourage other businesses to contact Braintree Council who are seeking support to grow.”

Latest plans include a Brewster Interpretation Centre, which is expected to open in July and will provide a modern museum showcasing the area through history using interactive technology to bring stories to life.

The Yeldham Road railway will also be introducing its Cubitt Restoration Centre, allowing visitors to see restoration of the steam engines as well as being able to commission out restoration services for other sites and partners.

This development alone will see the creation of two jobs, with the potential to recruit a further member of staff and an apprentice with The College at Braintree.

Other plans include a replica goods yard, children’s play area and improved catering and toilet facilities.

The whole project is expected to cost £2.4 million.

Tom Cunningham, councillor responsible for economic development, said: “We’re so pleased to see the funding going a long way at Colne Valley Railway.

“It has provided one of our major rural tourism and heritage destinations long-term sustainability and security for the future.

“We would encourage any other businesses in the district to contact us regarding our grant opportunities to see how we can help.”

To find out how Braintree Council could support your business email