THE RETURN of a steam train to Okehampton for the first time in two and a half years has been hailed as a great success, with more than 1,100 passengers taking a ride over the past two weeks.

This rare opportunity to see a steam locomotive had enthusiasts coming in their droves to ride on the 'Yankee tank' courtesy of Dartmoor Railway.

It was a nostalgic return for locomotive 30075, as she used to run the Meldon Quarry route in the 1960s and holds the honour of being the last operational steam locomotive on the GWR in Devon.

The train, built in Croatia in the 1960s, is a regular on the Watercress Line (the Mid Hants Railway).

General manager of Dartmoor Railway, Graham Isom, said they had had two great weekends: 'We had good support and with continued support we can do it again,' he said.

'A lot of people came up from the town when they heard the whistle for the steam. The trains went from Sampford Courtenay up to Meldon and on Sunday from Meldon to Okehampton.'

Mr Isom said both locals and visitors came along, some just to witness the steam train:

'This is the first steam train that has been here since the Americans took over the railway and the support from the public, the people of Okehampton and the volunteers has been terrific. We hope to do it again.'

Dartmoor Railway is a subsidiary of the British/American Railway Services.