The Steam Gala Extravaganza
You’ll be able to ride behind our guest locomotives and our home fleet across the four days, with intensive passenger service running on the railway. Across the traction-packed weekend, there’ll be a goods train demonstration and special double-headed trains.
The Steam Gala returns in 2024 and will take place across four steam-packed days after the success of the 2023 gala. Thursday 21st to Sunday 24th March,
The Gala Committee is currently confirming guest locomotives, and they will be listed once confirmed.
As steam drew close, British Railways made one last attempt to improve its steam fleet. In 1961 ‘Bahamas’ was chosen by BR for its very last experiment; the culmination of steam power development started with ‘Rocket’ in the 19th century.
Rather than being sent for scrap, however, the loco remained at the back of the shed until purchased by the Stockport (Bahamas) Locomotive Society in mid-1967. The engine then moved to the Hunslet Engine Company in Leeds for overhaul and was restored to service in LMS Crimson Lake Livery.
When steam was allowed back onto the mainline by British Rail, ‘Bahamas’ was one of the selected few engines to grace the new steam scene and, between 1972 and 1994, operated many rail tours across the national network. Retired from mainline duty, the engine ran on preserved lines until its boiler certificate expired when the locomotive was committed to Oxenhope Exhibition shed as a static exhibit.
Work progressed to the point that on the 28th of September, 2018, a fully restored and resplendent 45596 steamed at Tyseley. Returning to Ingrow early in 2019, ‘Bahamas’ made its mainline debut on the 9th of February, hauling a sell-out commemorative special from Oxenhope to Carlisle, its first mainline outing since 1994. The feat was repeated a week later on the 16th of February, their success raising hopes of future Oxenhope – Carlisle excursions, followed by participation in the Spring Steam Gala in March. On the 29th of March 2019, a special rededication ceremony took place at Ingrow West to officially relaunch ‘Bahamas’ back into traffic. Later in the year, ‘Bahamas’ was operating on the mainline around the Midlands.
This engine class was designed by William Stanier (later Sir William) in 1934. They were always painted in mixed traffic-lined black and, with a power rating of 5, became known by enthusiasts as Black 5’s. By the time the last one was produced in 1951, there were 842 examples. They were widely used and could be seen virtually all over the LMS system. After the nationalisation of the railways in 1948, the class spread further afield, including being used by the Southern Region in the 1950s after the forced withdrawal of some of its express engines due to a possible design defect.
Over half of the class were produced by two private manufacturers for the LMS: Vulcan Foundry and Armstrong Whitworth. As LMS no. 5212, our Black 5 was produced by Armstrong Whitworth at their works in Newcastle in 1935 and gained the British Railways number 45212 after nationalisation. The engine was delivered new to Low Moor shed in Bradford (West Yorkshire), so it may even have passed through Keighley during this stage of its career. Whilst in British Railways’ ownership, the engine was ‘shedded’ at Fleetwood (1948 – 1964), Carnforth (on two separate occasions, 1964 – 1965, 1965), Speke Junction (Liverpool, 1965), Carlisle (Kingmoor, 1965 – 1968) and Lostock Hall (Preston, 1968). It was from this latter shed that the engine was withdrawn from traffic in the final month of steam traction on the national network.
Withdrawn in August 1968, 45212 was purchased by KWVR, with the price being negotiated by the late Ron Ainsworth, where it arrived in October of that year. In February of 1969, it was covered in wallpaper as part of an advert for Solvite wallpaper paste.
Purchased by two pioneering members of the KWVR directly from British Railways, it arrived on the Worth Valley, where it was painted maroon and, along with USA Tank No. 30072, double-headed the “Re-opening Special” in June 1968.
This locomotive class was designed by H.G. lvatt in 1946 for the London Midland & Scottish Railway. lvatt had been very impressed with American locomotive designs used in this country during the Second World War, especially with labour-saving devices such as grease lubrication of the engine’s motion and a rocking grate in the firebox. This latter feature, for example, meant the crews did not have to use a long-handled shovel to “paddle out” the fire. He also designed the engines with repair and maintenance in mind, making most of the motion and pipework easily accessible to crew and fitters.
41241 arrived at Keighley under its own power in 1967 in good running order, having been in storage at Skipton shed since its earlier withdrawal from service. It is perhaps the most typical original branch line engine on the KWVR, making it an ideal motive power for the railway.
When the engine arrived on the Worth Valley it was painted maroon and, along with USA Tank No. 30072, double-headed the “Re-opening Special” on 29th June 1968. Resplendent in its distinctive red livery, 41241 wrote itself into Worth Valley folklore on the Re-opening Special. Although coming to the end of steam on the national network, operating ex-BR locomotives in BR livery was forbidden. The choice of livery decided upon was the non-authentic, but appropriate crimson, reflecting its LMS lineage.
41241 became a regular sight over the coming months and years, carrying the same in-house red livery. Passing into KWVR ownership, in the early ’70s, 41241 was a stalwart performer culminating in 1975 with its last outing onto the mainline, from Keighley to Shildon, Co. Durham for Stockton and Darlington 125 celebrations.
This engine became subject to one of the earliest private locomotive purchase schemes established in the country and was one of the earliest arrivals on the nascent KWVR. It was bought outright initially by Mr Tony Cox and kept at Retford, Nottinghamshire. When Mr Cox became secretary of the nascent Keighley & Worth Valley Railway in the West Riding of Yorkshire, he brought the engine to the Worth Valley, arriving in March 1965, three years before opening. Affectionately known as ‘The Green Dragon’ in ‘The Railway Children’ film, 957.
The engine has a long list of film and television credits and is probably best known for its appearance in the 1970 feature film ‘The Railway Children’ when, in green livery, it gained the unofficial name of the ‘Green Dragon’. The engine has also featured in BBC’s ‘Born and Bred’ and the remake of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’.
Having been the show star in 1970, it wasn’t long before its age took its toll, and it was taken out of traffic in 1975. It remained sidelined until a bequest came to the locomotive’s rescue. Now owned by the Bowers 957 Trust, the locomotive returned to full working order in 2001 following an overhaul costing £150,000. On withdrawal at the expiration of its boiler certificate, 957 was put aside at Oxenhope in 2012. In 2016, the locomotive was moved to Haworth and overhauled in time for the 51st anniversary of The Railway Children in 2021.
The locomotive will appear at the Steam Gala in British Railways Black livery as 52044.
The Standard Four Locomotive Society rescued 75078, the 21st departure from Barry Scrap Yard. 75078 arrived on the KWVR in June 1972, and restoration was completed in 1977 and operates today after successive overhauls, the last completed in October 2022.
After the nationalisation of Britain’s railways (from 1st January 1948), there were several exchange trails of locomotives from the LMS, LNER, GWR, and Southern Railway over each of the former company’s lines which led to the development of several new classes of locomotives. The classes were intended for medium-sized passenger, and freight turns with the advantage of low axle loading allowing the widest possible route availability. The Standard 4 class 4-6-0 had the edge over the 2-6-4T design thanks to the extra coal and water capacity it could carry. It also proved popular amongst footplate crews.
Completed in 1956, 75078 is one of a class of 80 engines built to a standard British Railways design and is from a batch supplied to the Southern Region. As this region did not have any water troughs, it is attached to a tender with a larger capacity for water and coal than others of its class. In addition, it is fitted with a double blast pipe and chimney for better power outputs with more economic returns in coal and water consumption.
Without the outbreak of war 1054 (then LMS no. 7799) would have been visiting the breakers as it was withdrawn from service on the day before war was declared. With a need for motive power, 7799 was restored to service and lasted for another 19 years. When eventually withdrawn, the locomotive was bought privately before passing to the National Trust and eventually handed to the Bahamas Locomotive Society for safekeeping.
Built for service in the Welsh Valleys north of Cardiff, no. 85 was deemed surplus to requirements at the time of the grouping in 1923 and was withdrawn by the Great Western Railway in 1927. In 1929, now numbered 426, it made the long journey north to the Durham coalfields, where it remained in service, as NCB no. 52, until 1968.
Salvation came in 1970 when 85 was bought by the KWVR and brought to Haworth for a new life on passenger services.
Encouraged by the progress made with the rebuild of 75078, the Standard 4 Locomotive Society returned to Barry in 1975, purchasing 78022, a locomotive ideally suited to the Worth Valley branch. It was offloaded at Haworth on the 11th of June 1975 and laid aside to await the day when restoration would begin, although it was another 18 years before this locomotive was restored to running order.
After laying untouched in Haworth Yard, 78022 was eventually the recipient of an extensive restoration from Barry condition, completed in 1993; the locomotive proved popular with footplate crews capable of handling five coach services on off-peak turns of duty.
Having languished at Oxenhope since withdrawal in 2003, 78022 came to the head of the overhaul queue in 2015 and was moved to Haworth, where stripping commenced to determine the required work. That work has been thorough, and this useful locomotive returned to service in November 2018 in a lined-out BR green livery.
Across the Gala weekend, you will encounter the excitement and nostalgia of the Locomotive works, with its exclusive sounds and smells; get up close to our fleet of Steam and Diesel locomotives with knowledgeable commentary from your experienced guide.
The tour involves walking on uneven and slippery surfaces and includes steps. For this reason, it is not suitable for those with mobility problems. Regretfully, open-toed shoes are not permitted. Access to the sheds is only permitted for authorised groups who must always remain together.
Please be aware that this is both a hazardous and a working environment; children under 16, therefore, MUST be accompanied by a responsible adult. Due to yard restrictions and operating requirements, tours may have to be curtailed or cancelled without notice.
Tickets for the tour cost £5.00, with more details to follow closer to the event.
Haworth Shed Tours will begin shortly after the arrival of each service from Keighley, meeting inside at the Booking Hall, Haworth.
Timetables will be available nearer the event.
ticket and EVENT INFORMATION
Ticket and fare information will be added soon.
10% Discount online if purchasing three or more days in advance.
The best ticket for your visit will be our Four Day Rover, which gives you all-day travel across the gala weekend and entry into the Museums at Ingrow West. 1 & 2 Day tickets will also be available.
Return tickets will be available for the full length of the line.
Please note that this gala will not have reserved seating whether you buy online or on the day (except for coach parties). All customers will need to choose their seat once they have boarded the train or speak to staff if you have any queries.
- Members’ Free tickets are withdrawn.
- Heritage Railway Association passes and free travel for reciprocal organisations cannot be used as normal – Member-priced tickets are charged.
- 10% Discount online if purchasing three or more days in advance.
- Local Residents Railcards discount is amended – the member price is charged.
- Break of Journey on Single / Return tickets is not permitted, except that Full Line Return ticket holders may only break their journey at Haworth.
- Carer / Wheelchair user discounts are available as normal.
- Other promotions/discounts are not available.
- Complimentary ticket vouchers are not valid unless they are printed as being issued for the gala itself.
Car parks are available at five of the KWVR stations, and for the benefit of satellite navigation system users, the KWVR station addresses & postcodes are:
- KEIGHLEY – Keighley Railway Station, Station Bridge, Keighley, BD21 4HP
- INGROW – Ingrow Railway Station, South Street, Ingrow, Keighley, BD21 5AX
- OAKWORTH – Oakworth Railway Station, Station Road, Oakworth, Keighley, BD22 0DZ
- HAWORTH – The Railway Station, Station Road, Haworth, Keighley, BD22 8NJ
- OXENHOPE – Oxenhope Railway Station, Station Road, Oxenhope, Keighley, BD22 9LB
You can find more information about getting the railway in the dedicated travel section.
The Railway is pleased to welcome all dogs and their owners onto our Steam Gala Trains, subject to their owners ensuring that their dogs do not cause a distraction to the operation of the train or inconvenience and difficulties to fellow passengers. In addition, dogs are not allowed onto carriage seats.
In the opinion of the Station Master or Guard, if a dog is not in the control of its owner and is causing problems, the Station Master or Guard may, at their discretion, request the dog be taken away from the Railway’s premises or removed from the train at the next available station or be cared for by its owner in a more appropriate area away from other passengers.
However, dogs are NOT allowed in carriages where food is served, for example.