History of the Line.
The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Line opened initially in 1867, funded by the local wealthy mill owners and formed part of the Midland Railway. In 1948, it became part of British Rail. Fortunes declined with the rise of competition from the roads and the line closed in 1962.
Local opposition to the closure saw the rise of the KWVR Preservation Society reopening the line in 1968, making it the first privetisation of any BR line and making this year it’s 50th Anniversary.
KWVR did not have to raise the money to buy the line, but paid in instalments-the last one paid in 1992.
The Keighley to Oxenhope Line
The line runs from Keighley to Oxenhope, passing through:-
- Ingrow Station – after the closure of the line in 1962, the station building was vandalised, so originally as the line reopened, it was an unmanned request only stop. An appeal for donations raised enough money to buy the station building at Foulridge, which was built in a similar style to Ingrow. The building at Folridge was demolished and rebuilt in Ingrow, opening in 1989. Today the station houses the Museum of Rail Travel.
- Damems Station – Damems is Britains smallest standard guard railway station. It is called as a station and not as a halt, because it includes a Stationmasters house.
- Oakworth Station – still contains the vintage advertising boards and is seen much as it was in the early 1900’s. It is still lit by gas lights, both inside the station building and on the platform, making it an impressive location for the film, The Railway Children. The Staitionmaster on duty at Oakworth has the responsibility for the level crossing at the end of the platform.
- Haworth Station – Haworth is now the headquarters of the KWVR. The former goods shed in the railway yard has been extended as a locomotive shed and provides storage, maintenance and the overhaul of the locomotive engines. Haworth was supposed to be the original terminal of the line.
- Oxenhope Station – The local mill owners successfully campaigned for the line to be extended to Oxenhope. The engine shed now holds the Engine and Wagon department. It’s used for housing the the trains and servicing the carriages. Oxenhope also houses the beer store for use on the real ale buffet cars.
The Haworth Haddock
KWVR holds several events over the year. These include:-
- The Santa Steam Special
- Keighley Korma Curry Train
- Beer and Music Festival
and the one that we went on, The Haworth Haddock. We were due to departed from Oxenhope at 7.15, although we were delayed as there was a problem with the engine and an alternative engine had to be brought up from Haworth. Although there are two bars on the train, we bought our own wine with us.
The train travelled down the line to Keighley to pick up fish and chips for the whole train. On the journey down to Keighley we were given tea cakes, sauce and salt and vinegar. Once the fish and chips were assigned to every passenger, we travelled back up the line to Oxenhope and then down once again to Keighley. Once we arrived at Keighley for the 2nd time, we disembarked and were treated to a live band “The Flashback” who played hits from the 50’s and 60’s.
There was dancing on the platform and a good time was had by all. At the end of the night, the train climbed back to Oxenhope, getting us back to the station about 11.30.
We were lucky that we booked the trip earlier in the year, even though additional Haworth Haddock trains have been put on, all the dates for 2018 have sold out, so we’re now waiting for 2019’s to be released to rebook on for next year.