Keighley and Worth Valley Railway
|Keighley and Worth Valley Railway|
|Connections||Network Rail at Keighley|
|Name||Worth Valley Branch|
|Built by||K. & W. V. Rly Co.|
|Original gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Owned by||Keighley & Worth Valley Preservation Society|
|Length||5 mi (8 km)|
|Preserved gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Opened||13 April 1867|
|1881||Midland Railway takes over ownership of line|
|1883||Keighley Station opened in current location|
|1884||Great Northern Railway extended into Keighley via part of the Worth Valley Branch|
|1892||Mytholmes Tunnel built|
|1948||BR takes over ownership / operation of line|
|1960||Diesel Railcars introduced|
|Closed to passengers||30 December 1961|
|1962||Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Preservation Society formed|
|1968||Worth Valley Line reopened|
|1971||Damems loop built|
|Keighley & Worth Valley Railway|
The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is a 5-mile-long (8 km) branch line that served mills and villages in the Worth Valley and is now a heritage railway line in West Yorkshire, England. It runs from Keighley to Oxenhope. It connects to the national rail network at Keighley railway station.
- 1 History
- 2 Stations and facilities
- 3 Commuter use
- 4 Rolling stock
- 5 Use in film, media and television
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Inception and building of the branch
In 1861, a Civil Engineer named John McLandsborough visited Haworth to pay tribute to Charlotte Brontë and was surprised to find that Haworth was not served by a railway. He decided that this should be changed and put forward a proposal for a branch running from the station at Keighley to Oxenhope, which was warmly received by a number of mill owners and other influential people[who?] in the area as well as the Midland Railway, the owners of the railway through Keighley. The branch served 15 mills around its terminus as well as others on the line, and these were likely to be a source of traffic.
It was reported[by whom?] to the meeting of these local gentlemen that the line would cost £30,000 to build. In light of this fact, 3,134 shares worth £10 each were issued at this meeting, along with the election of directors, bankers, solicitors and engineers. Notable was the fact that J McLandsborough, the original proposer of the line (who dealt predominantly with water and sewerage engineering, but had experience of building the Otley and Ilkley Railway) was appointed acting engineer; whilst J. S. Crossley of the Midland Railway was appointed consultant engineer.
The railway was built as single track, but with a trackbed wide enough to allow upgrading to double track if the need arose and the work was estimated[by whom?] to take approximately one year to complete. However, there were some delays: the time taken for the contractors to get possession of the land which the railways were to be built on; a cow eating the plans of the line somewhere[where?] near Oakworth; and, complications[specify] in digging the tunnel at the direct south end of Ingrow West. This manifested itself in that the tunnel walls, when bored, were oozing quicksand resulting in the application of piles being driven down to the bedrock to support and stabilise the tunnel. Unfortunately, this meant that the Wesley Place Methodist Church was damaged through the vibration and movement of the earth. The KWVR had to pay £1,980 in damages to the church.
The rails were completed in 1866, tracklaying having started at each end and now being joined in the middle. The line was tested with a locomotive from Ilkley, which took nearly 2 hours to get from Keighley to Oxenhope, but just 13 minutes to get back. Unfortunately, before opening, violent storms struck the line in November of that year.
The opening ceremony was held on Saturday 13 April 1867. Unfortunately, the train got stuck on Keighley bank and again between Oakworth and Haworth, necessitating splitting of the train before carrying on with the journey. Finally, on 15 April 1867, public passenger services on the Worth Valley commenced.
The line was operated by the Midland Railway, who owned most of the rail network in the area, and was eventually bought by the Midland in part due to interest from the rival railway company, the Great Northern. Upon sale of the railway, the mill owners made a profit, which was unusual for many lines of that type, as (for strategic reasons) the Midland wanted to prevent the GN from taking over its territory. After becoming part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway in 1923 during Grouping, ownership passed to British Railways (BR) following nationalisation in 1948.
The deviation was built as a condition of the buy out of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway by the Midland Railway. The need for the deviation was to avoid a large wooden trestle viaduct that crossed a mill pond, as the locals believed the viaduct was unsafe, and supposedly many alighted at Oakworth and continued on foot to Haworth to avoid crossing the viaduct. The original design for the deviation was to skirt the mill pond then through a cutting to rejoin the original formation. However, during construction the material in the cutting proved to be unstable, resulting in the construction of the short Mytholmes Tunnel. The original trestle viaduct can be seen in a picture hanging in the booking hall of Oakworth station.
British Railways closed the line in 1962 and their last scheduled passenger train ran on 31 December 1961.
A preservation society was formed of rail enthusiasts and local people which bought the line from BR and reopened it on 29 June 1968 as a heritage railway. The first train to leave Keighley for Oxenhope on that date was the only train to operate anywhere on the network due to a national train strike. The line is now a major tourist attraction operated by 500+ volunteers and roughly 10 paid staff it carries more than 100,000 passengers a year.
The KWVR is currently one of only two preserved railways which operates a complete branch line in its original form, the other being the heritage Ecclesbourne Valley Railway in Wirksworth, Derbyshire.
Operation as a preserved line
On 10 July 2008, the Duke of Kent visited the railway following the 40th anniversary of its reopening. While at the railway, the Duke travelled on a specially prepared "Royal Train", consisting of tank locomotive 41241, an LMS Class 2MT, pulling a single carriage, The Old Gentleman's Saloon, as featured in The Railway Children, which is a former North Eastern Railway directors Saloon. While visiting, the Duke travelled in the carriage and on the locomotive footplate.
Stations and facilities
- Mainline connections to Leeds, Bradford, Skipton, Carlisle, Lancaster, Morecambe and London King's Cross
- Railway shop and buffet
- Picnic area
- Station restored to BR 1950s condition complete with cast-iron platform canopy on Platform 4, as once existed on all of the platforms
- Access to the Vintage Carriages Trust's Museum of Rail Travel
- Railway shop
- Access to the Bahamas Locomotive Society Museum "Ingrow Loco"
- Car parking
- The smallest standard-gauge railway station in Britain, complete with waiting room, booking office, signal box and level crossing
- Lit by gas and heated by coal stoves
- Featured as "Ormston" in the BBC's Born and Bred
- Famous as the location for the filming of the 1970 film The Railway Children, starring Jenny Agutter, Dinah Sheridan, Bernard Cribbins, Sally Thomsett and Gary Warren
- Restored to Edwardian condition, the station is lit by gas lamps
- Heated by up to four coal fires in winter (around eight months each year)
- Civil Engineering yard, containing all engineering wagons (not open to public)
- Car parking (for 'Horseless Carriages')
- Railway shop
- Motive Power & Civil Engineering Departments situated here (Not open to the public, although guided tours are run on peak days)
- Picnic area and engine shed viewing area
- Access to Haworth village and the Brontë Parsonage
- Gas lit platform
- An example of a 1950s country station
- Terminus of the branch (Located at around 660 feet above sea level)
- New Heritage Lottery Fund-supported exhibition shed; contains locomotives and carriages not currently in use and explains their history and that of the line as a whole
- Carriage & Wagon Maintenance department (Not open to the public)
- Buffet (converted from BR Mk1 RMB No. 1824) and railway shop.
- Car parking
- Bus connections to Hebden Bridge
- Gas-lit platform, car park and waiting room
On weekends - in particular Saturday mornings, local residents who live in Oxenhope, Haworth, Oakworth and Ingrow catch the early morning diesel service to Keighley, returning later on steam hauled services. During the weekday outside of the summer months, locals instead use the local bus services.
As a privately owned heritage railway, the line does not specifically serve commuters; however, a study by Ove Arup & Partners funded by Metro looked at the feasibility of a daily commuter service between Oxenhope and Keighley in 2009. After the first stage of the study was released, Metro stated concerns about a lack of funding and available rolling stock, meaning that services are unlikely to run in the short to medium term.
Another study recently undertaken on behalf of the Worth Valley Joint Transport Committee has found that running up to four commuter trains each way in the morning and evening is feasible.
KWVR has a large collection of both steam and diesel locomotives, as well as supporting carriages and other rolling stock. The railway has amassed a large collection of Vintage Carriages over the years. Some are used to carry passengers on specially selected open days.
The railway owns three rail mounted cranes: a 10T Grafton steam P-Way crane, a 15T Taylor Hubbard diesel P-Way Crane and an ex LMS 45T steam breakdown crane. In addition, the affiliated Bahamas Locomotive Society owns a steam breakdown crane, based at Ingrow. Currently the 15T Taylor Hubbard crane and the 10T Grafton steam P-Way crane are in traffic, the latter now in apple green. Furthermore, there are a variety of wagons used by the civil engineering department, largely at either Oakworth or Ingrow West.
Use in film, media and television
In the 1960s (shortly before the preserved line re-opened), a ITV advertisement on chocolate cookie biscuits, featuring Ronnie Corbett, was filmed along the line and at Mytholmes Tunnel (between Oakworth and Haworth). A steam train carries (at the front end) out of the tunnel a shocked Corbett holding onto the handrail of the engine. The locomotive used was Pug 51218.
In 1970 the line was featured in the British Drama Film The Railway Children. The line was one of only a few heritage railways in the UK and was the only one at the time which had a tunnel (this was one of the most important locations needed for the film). The tunnel used is a lot shorter in reality than it appears in the film, for which a temporary extension to the tunnel was made using canvas covers. Locomotives that were chosen for the film included a Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0T no 31 Hamburg, GWR 5700 0-6-0PT no 5775, Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway 0-6-0 no 957 & GNR N2 0-6-2T no 1744. Railway locations used in the film included Mytholmes Tunnel near Haworth, the location for the paper chase scene was also shot at Mytholmes, as well as the one in which the children wave the girls' petticoats in the air to warn the train about a landslide. The landslide sequence itself was filmed in a cutting on the Oakworth side of Mytholmes Tunnel and the fields of long grass where the children waved to the trains are situated on the Haworth side of the tunnel.
In 1976, The KWVR and Haworth railway station appeared in the premier episode of a Granada TV sitcom called Yanks Go Home (set in 1942), in which a group of US Army Air Force pilots arrive by train and alight at the station (Haworth) and are stationed in a small Northern town in Lancashire, North-West of England, during the Second World War.
In 1979, an episode of the long-running UK TV sitcom Last of the Summer Wine was filmed partly along the Worth Valley route, in which the three main characters Compo, Foggy and Clegg visit and then to attempt to stop a runaway steam train having pulled the brake on purpose (and then only to drive upwards and downwards). The locomotive used was Pannier 5775 in its London Transport guise as L89.
In 2014, Keighley station was featured extensively in the feature-film 'Testament of Youth', as were the interiors of some of the railway's vintage coaches.
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