About the Railway

Keighley & Worth Valley Railway

The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway is a preserved standard gauge line which joins the national railway network at Keighley and runs 5-miles up the valleys of the River Worth and Bridgehouse Beck to Oxenhope.

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Preservation Society was formed upon the closure of the line by British Railways in 1962 with the aim of returning a daily passenger service to the Worth Valley area.

The Society reopened the branch line from Keighley to Oxenhope in June 1968, just weeks before steam finally ended on British Railways in August of the same year. Despite the original aim of the Society to reinstate a daily service on the branch, it soon became clear that a full-time commuter service would not be possible, certainly in the first instance, and probably ever, although this has not stopped the subject of commuter trains being discussed at some length in the last 50 years or so.

The KWVR in Preservation

The Railway is perhaps most famous for its role in the 1970 film version of Edith Nesbit’s story The Railway Children. The Railway has published a book which describes the making of the film and includes many photographs along with the recollections of many volunteers who were involved. The Railway has played host to many film crews, the most notable in recent years has been the World War 1 drama, Testament of Youth and the children’s classic, Swallows & Amazons and the successful TV series Peaky Blinders.

Whilst offering scheduled steam train journeys every weekend of the year, daily during the Summer, the Railway also offers special events such as locomotive galas for the enthusiast and, for our family visitors, Santa Steam Specials, and visits by popular children’s TV characters.

Every October the Railway also holds one of the north’s finest Beer & Music Festivals. Add to this a variety of dining trains on selected dates, catering for all tastes and the Railway offers something for all the family throughout the year.

History of the KWVR

The Worth Valley branch out of Keighley opened in 1867, funded predominantly by local wealthy mill owners. Within a very short time, the railway became part of the Midland Railway until in 1923 at the Grouping, it was absorbed into the new London Midland and Scottish Railway. Upon Nationalisation in 1948, the line became part of British Railways and, with its fortunes declining with the rise of competition from the roads, the branch closed in 1962.

A Preservation Society was formed which created a Company to buy the line outright, lease access into Keighley station and operate a regular public service. After many years of volunteer struggle, the line re-opened to passenger traffic in June 1968, although that dream of operating a regular public service never came to fruition.