Review of "Keighley & Worth Valley Railway"

published 14/08/2017 | Essexgirl2006
Member since : 07/02/2006
Reviews : 582
Members who trust : 273
About me :
Excellent
Pro A great day out for all the family
Cons Nothing major
exceptional
Frequency of trains
Reliability of trains
Speed of trains
Safety of trains
How extensive is their Rail Network?

"Chuff Chuff!"

Vintage Steam Train

Vintage Steam Train

Chuff Chuff!


Introduction

Whilst visiting friends in West Yorkshire recently, they took us for a day out to Worth Valley vintage railway and Haworth. We drove to Keighley station and parked in the car park there, which was free. You can access Keighley by modern train (National Rail) too, I think the stations are just next to each other. The other stations on the line would be accessed only by car, bus or vintage railway.

Tickets

An adult return is £11 which takes us the full length of the line to Oxenhope but we were only getting off in Haworth. A Child would be £5.50 (5-15 years) and concessions are £10. You may find it best to get a Day Rover and explore the region of you have more time as this allows you to hop on and hop off for multiple journeys. This is £16 for an adult, £14 concession and £8 child and there is a small family ticket for £20 (One adult or concession, plus one child). Some trains have a buffet car and real ale in the bar. Some have a ‘posh’ bit where you can have a cream tea.

Not all trains are steam, there are some diesel but check the timetable on the website if you have a preference. Different days operate different timetables.

If you are a local or regular visitor to the area you may find membership is good value for you.
A Bit of History

This line which leaves Keighley and travels through the Worth Valley and part of the Pennines opened in 1867, partially funded by local mill owners to help bring coal to power their mills, as well as to get their staff to work. It closed in 1962 as it was no longer viable with better road access to the remaining mills. However a Preservation Society was formed in order to get the line re-opened and this happened in 1968, with the society paying British Rail for the line in instalments over 25 years. . I have been told that this was the first of the closed railways of that era to re-open as a preserved heritage line. The staff are all volunteers and are trained and qualified for any particular role they may do. It’s links Haworth (home of the Bronte family) and being the site of The Railway Children have helped keep this line popular with tourists.

Our Experience

We arrived at the traditionally styled Keighley station (the KWVR station, not the National Rail one) and soaked up the atmosphere. There are the vintage posters advertising coastal destination you could visit by train back in the day (well you still can, where services are running!). The station was clean and well maintained. We bought our tickets from the helpful man and awaited the train. The steam engine has to be swapped and I believe there is a turning table for the train which you can watch, before the engine travels past it’s carriages and changes track, before reversing back to connect with the carriages. The front end of the platform is busy with enthusiasts taking photos and once connected the driver was happy to pose for photos. We boarded the front carriage.

Inside most carriages on our train had seats around a table, we did see the other train with Pullman carriages tables lain for cream tea! The train chuffs out of the station just as it should do and our journey was very smooth. You are asked not to lean out of the carriage but you will see some lovely scenery as you go past so try and wangle a window seat. Being in the front carriage when you go through a tunnel is quite atmospheric and a bit ‘Brief Encounter’.

The first stop was Ingrow West and although we didn’t alight here we could see that there were a number of railway related attractions here known as the Rail Story including the Museum of Rail Travel which (the website tells me) contains some restored Edwardian and Victorian rail carriages that visitors can sit in and Ingrow Loco which apparently also features the history or train spotting and model railways. The museums are included in your Rover ticket by otherwise a nominal fee of £2.50-4 will be charged depending on what parts you wish to visit. There is also ‘Learning Coach’ for schools and interest groups.

The next stop is Damems and is a request stop. The platform is only one carriage long so you need to be in the front carriage and inform the driver before you leave the previous station. It is one of the smallest stations in the UK. It was originally opened to serve a small mill in the mid-nineteenth century, but closed to passengers some 90 years later. Now it allows access to a residential area, but is difficult to get to by car due to poor roads.

The next station is Oakworth and is the station featured in the 1970 film The Railway Children (apparently I am one of a handful of people on the planet who have not seen this). You can do a Railway Children walk from Haworth station but it comes past here. Apparently the you can see the house Bernard Cribbens’ character lived in from the train, up the hill. The station is maintained to look as close as possible to at typical Edwardian station of 1905-14.

We got off at Haworth which is most famous for being the home of the Bronte sisters. The main part of the town is a ten minute uphill walk from the station. You can visit the Parsonage (their home) for £8.50 but we were not sure we had time to do it justice so enjoyed strolling through the park, looking at the quirky shops and having some lunch. It is quite touristy but is a very charming town and well worth a visit if you have the opportunity. Due to a train home to London later that day from Wakefield, we needed to get back.

The last station on the line (or first, depending on your starting point!) is Oxenhope but I can’t comment on how attractive the village is as we never went this far, but there is an Exhibition Shed with unused engines and carriages that are not being used for free.

If you did the full journey it would take 25 minutes each way (plus engine switching times). They run trains 5-9 times per day depending on time of year and an option of an open top bus between Oxenhope and Haworth that takes in Haworth village on the summer months. We went on a Sunday and all trains were steam but sometimes they do use diesel trains. In the winter months the service only runs at weekends and school holidays and look out for special events.

Facilities

There are toilets on board the train and usually a buffet car. We didn’t visit so I cannot comment on prices and selection but I understand they offer a variety of real ale from pumps. All stations have toilets, and there is a kiosk for hot drinks and snacks at Keighley, a large gift shop at Haworth and a café at Oxenhope. Nearby villages (Haworth, Oakworth and Oxenhope) would also offer something to eat or drink.
There is parking at all but Damems station, and all car parks (except Haworth) are free. All stations except Damems have ramps and an adapted carriage for two wheelchairs (not available on all trains) or else can travel with the guard or store wheelchairs with him. Probably worth a quick phone call to check your needs will be met but they are an obliging bunch, so am sure they will help if they can.
Contact Info

Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, Railway Station, Haworth, West Yorkshire BD22 8NJ
Tel: 01535 645214
Kwvr.co.uk

Special events

They do cream teas on special days (book in advance) plus some on midweek trains during the summer for an additional £7.50 (pay on board). I was also pleased to see special themed days such as Vintage Train days (surely every day.. but apparently they bring in special trains from other lines). They also do Fish and Chip Supper evenings, Curry nights and Santa Specials at Christmas. All good fun sounding events to keep locals and tourists engaged with the railway. They also offer Footplate experiences for adults to learn how to fire, drive and guard the train.
Conclusion

Well we had a brilliant time! Had I not had to return to London that afternoon, I think we would have done a bit more in Haworth and perhaps explored one of the other villages. There is a lot to do whenever I visit my friends in Yorkshire, so I don’t know if we will come again, but I would be more than happy to re-visit the railway and the picturesque villages along its route. I think it is good value as you are paying to maintain and preserve a charming part of Britain’s industrial history. The staff volunteers (and also some of your fellow passengers!) are knowledgeable and enthusiastic and it really is a super day out for all the family.


Community evaluation

This review was read 118 times and was rated at
82% :
> How to understand evaluation of this review
exceptional

Comments on this review

  • Chippytarka published 11/09/2017
    Excellent write upx
  • siberian-queen published 20/08/2017
    lovely review
  • euphie published 18/08/2017
    e :o)
  • Did you find this review interesting? Do you have any questions? Sign into your Ciao account to leave the author a comment. Log in

offers "Keighley & Worth Valley Railway"

Product Information : Keighley & Worth Valley Railway

Manufacturer's product description

Ciao

Listed on Ciao since: 12/06/2001