THE age of steam returned to the region with a rare appearance by a historic locomotion on a heritage railway line.

Bittern, an A4 Pacific loco, pulled carriages full of enthusiastic passengers on the Wensleydale Railway on Saturday.

The engine - fresh from a reunion with its five surviving sister locos at Shildon - made three journeys between Leeming Bar and Redmire stations in North Yorkshire.

Passengers were treated to onboard entertainment from musicians Rory McLeod and Trio Gitan and several indulged in a glass or two of champagne or specially brewed real ale which was on sale during the journey.

The event marked the start of the Swaledale Festival, two weeks of music, poetry, drama and exhibitions. For more details, visit