A NEW chapter for Blaenavon's Heritage Railway opened on Friday with its new line to the Big Pit.

Visitors boarded the first train from Furnace Sidings to to the National Coal Museum after it was officially opened by the BBC's Roy Noble.

A new station has been built at the Big Pit, which attracts around 165,000 visitors a year, and a new platform near the museum's car park.

It is hoped Blaenavon Heritage Railway will be able to attract hundreds of new visitors by linking up to the railway which is one of Gwent's top tourist attractions.

This is part of a process of trying to link up the various attractions on the World Heritage site.

Yesterday's opening also coincides with the Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway's Industrial South Wales Steam Gala this weekend.

Three steam locomotives that used to work in South Wales will be on display today and tomorrow.

This includes one called 'Whitehead' which used to work in Cwmbran before its retirement in 1966. It is now kept in Derbyshire and this weekend is its first trip back to South Wales since it was preserved.