An Edwardian Time Warp

Oakworth station had a humble existence, initially as a small country station with a goods shed and yard serving the nearby village. That did not change much in the preservation era until 1970 when the station was shot to international fame by Lionel Jeffries’ iconic children’s film, The Railway Children. For such a small country station it has quite a large story to tell.


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Small Free car park

A Station with Big Screen Fame

Do you recognise the station? It was used in the 1970 version of the film The Railway Children. The KWVR persuaded the film-makers to keep the name Oakworth in the film, with dramatic consequences. Money earned from making the film was insignificant compared to the passenger revenue generated after its release.

However, this prosperity brought many short term problems. The KWVR was still a single track branch line and could only operate with one train in service. But Easter 1971 was the busiest ever and a seven coach train had to be used to cater for the traffic, with a spare engine to speed up the run round at Keighley. The only solution was to press ahead with the construction of a passing loop at Damems in time for the Spring Bank Holiday. This enabled the KWVR to operate 2 trains on the line and pass them half way at Damems Junction, which you will have passed through on your journey from Keighley.

Oakworth station has been a winner many times of the Best Restored Station competition. The only major work undertaken was during the autumn of 1983 when an outbreak of dry rot was discovered in the entrance hall. Woodwork and plaster had to be hacked out and replaced and professional repairs carried out to the roof. Unfortunately the rot had spread through virtually the whole of the original building, resulting extensive, and expensive, repairs. After the remedial attention, the framed portrait of Queen Victoria, still to be seen today, was securely back in its place over the fireplace.

In the goods yard the five-ton crane and still exists and livestock could also be dealt with using the dock. The last animals to be unloaded were ponies for the Disney film ‘The Pit Ponies’ just after the Railway re-opened. Until 1956 the station boasted a passing loop and a signalbox situated at the Keighley end of the station. The reduction in train services and the decline in goods traffic led to both being removed.

After the signalbox closed, the station continued to be manned for the level crossing using the remaining signals from a small ground frame at the Haworth end of the platform. You will see the crossing keeper operating these signals whenever a train approaches or leaves the station.

The KWVR acquired the keys to Oakworth Station in 1965, three years after it had been closed. On opening the station, it was found just as it must have been left. There was even a half full bottle of ink and a large round table in the middle of the office had been tipped over, presumably in disgust.

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