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The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway

Saturday 11th May

© Photos & Text Tom Chaffin

The 2019 AGAM was held at the Mill Hay Brew House at Haworth on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.  As well as the AGM itself, members were able to enjoy a trip on the railway as well as guided tour around Haworh engine sheds.  

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is a five mile railway which runs from the National Rail Station of Keighley, down the Worth Valley to Oxenhope. The railway was opened by the Midland Railway in 1867.  Passenger services were ceased by British Railways on 30th December 1961, with freight services finishing on the 18th June 1962.  On 23 June 1962 the new formed Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Preservation Society chartered a special passenger train which ran from Bradford to Oxenhope and return.

The line reopened as a preserved line in 1968 with the first train running on 29th June 1968.  The line is one of only three preserved branch lines in the country preserved for its entire original length.  

Today some 500 volunteers and 10 paid staff operate the line which carries around 100,000 passengers a year.   The line was made famous by the 1970s film “The Railway Children”, based on the book by E Nesbit, which was partly filmed at Oakworth station on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway - one of the reasons why the this particular line was chosen for the filming is because it contains a tunnel, which features in the book.  At the time of filming the line was the only preserved line which had a tunnel.

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When we first arrived at Keighley English Electric prototype 0-6-0 shunter, D226 “Vulcan” was undertaking shunting  around the station area.

D226 was one of two prototype shunters built be English Electric in 1957, one with electric transmission, D226, the other with hydraulic transmission, D227.

D226 was the more successful of the two and after a three year testing period with British Railways, the locomotive was retained by English Electric for shunting.

The engine was loaned to the Keighley & Worth Valley railway on 1966 and has been found to be an idea engine for the railway.

D226 is fitter with an English Electric 6RK engine of 500hp at 750rpm.

The locomotive weighs 48 tonnes and is designed for a top speed of 35mph, though like most preserved lines the maximum speed on the K&WVR is 25mph.

With this top speed, the locomotive can operate works trains at a speed that does not interfere with passenger train operation.  The locomotive can also work passenger trains when required, it the booked engine fails.  These characteristics make this locomotive idea for the railway.

D226 is seen here shunting just outside Keighley station

The 10.15 from Oxenhope to Keighley was operated by Midland Railway 4F 43924, seen here on the approach to Keighley.

Note the telegraph poles beside the railway - a once common site along most railway lines, now rarely seen.

D226 continues its shunting duties whilst the 4F 43924 passes as it approaches Keighley.

Unfortunately the photographer was intending to get an arrival shot of the incoming train from Oxenhope at this location, just outside Keighley station - but D226 went passed just at the wrong moment!

4F 43294 backs of its train at Keighley after arrival, ready to run round.

Keighley station is a joint National Rail / Keighley and Worth Valley Railway station, with a joint footbridge linking all the platforms and has been restored into British Railways 1950s condition.

4F 43294 on the run-round at Keighley , passing Platform 3.

This 4F dates from 1920 and is the only of the four preserved examples built for the Midland Railway- the other three being built for the LMS after grouping in 1923.

4F 43294 approaching the points outside Keighley station so in can back-down on the 11.00 to Oxenhope.

This particular engine is noteworthy as being the first steam engine to be rescued from Woodham’s scrap yard in Barry in South Wales.  Over 200 locomotives followed - but 43294 led the way.

The Locomotive and Carriage Institution’s Centenary Headboard was fitted to the front of 43294 prior to departure with the 11.00 to Oxenhope.

Unfortunately the headboard is only just visible  in this photo behind the vacuum pipe, the curve of the platform preventing a clearer view.

The Centenary headboard commemorates 100 years of the Locomotive & Carriage Institution 1911- 2011 and has now been on a wide variety of Locomotives including London Underground Locomotive 12 Sarah Siddons and on the previous day, Ravenglass and Eskdale 15 inch gauge locomotive 9 River Mitre.

The line has a passing place between stations at Damens where there is Midland Railway signalbox.

The driver of the 11.00 Oxenhope to Keighley is seen here been given the token for the Damen to Keighley single track section by the signaller.

This train was operated by a Metro Cammell Class 101 DMU, with DMBS  M51189 leading.