The chilly nights of December and January are melting and as we head into March people are looking ahead to the spring.

As the weather improves, the steam rally season gets into full flow. Societies and railways across the country will be holding special events which people can involved. With the lighter evenings passengers have the opportunity to glide through the British countryside aboard a steam train, there are not many better experiences.

So what is going on this month? Here are our highlights to what is planned in the steam community during March.

Spring Diesel Gala – East Lancashire Railway, Bury (March 7th and 8th)

Kicking off the month is East Lancashire Railway's Spring Diesel Gala. Situated in the town of Bury, the railway is spread over 12 miles passing through the village of Ramsbottom and then on to the market town of Rawtenstall. This popular railway will be showcasing the very best diesel engines on the opening March weekend.

Visitors will be able to enjoy a relaxing trip through Lancashire countryside across the weekend. There are a number of special events going on including the return of the Saturday Night 'Beer-ex' Special. There is also the ELR Diesel Diner which will be pulled by the 50015 Valiant – visitors who do want to attend should book to avoid disappointment.

Other diesel locomotives confirmed for the event includes the D9531 'Ernest' and D9537 'Eric', 33109 Captain Bill Smith RNR and Hymek D7076 among others.

Day Out With Thomas – Kirklees Light Railway, Huddersfield (March 14th and 15th)

For many people of a certain age, Thomas the Tank Engine will have played a large part in their childhood. Whether it was watching the series, narrated by Ringo Starr, on the television or building their very own Thomas train set, this little train has featured prominently. So why not treat the kids to a Day Out With Thomas at Kirklees Light Railway?

The Huddersfield site will be visited by Thomas, Percy, Mavis, Toby and not to mention the Fat Controller who will be making sure they are behaving themselves. Families will be able to enjoy the day with Thomas and friends while there will be a whole lot more going on at the station itself.

Children will able to give Thomas a drink with the help of his driver and the Fat Controller thanks to special Culdee Fell water brought specially from the Island of Sodor. There will also be donkey rides and bouncy castle, weather permitting.

Spring Steam Gala – West Somerset Railway, Bishops Lydeard (March 26th to March 29th)

Rounding off the month is the Spring Steam Gala at West Somerset Railway in Bishops Lydeard. The railway, near Taunton, will play host to some of the most treasured steam locomotives the country has to offer. Already confirmed are the GWR locomotives 4270, 5542 and 6695.

A real highlight of the event will be the Pacific 70000 Britannia which will be in attendance as a "guest" engine.

Paul Conibeare, West Somerset Railway general manager, said: "We believe we have an attractive line-up of  locomotives lined-up for the four days including the two West Somerset debutants 4270 and 46521 and look forward to welcoming old friends and new faces to the line for the four days."