Worth Valley

Worth Valley

Keighley Station

Keighley Station


The only railway in the world built because of Charlotte Brontë. In 1861, a Civil Engineer named John McLandsborough visited Haworth to pay tribute to Charlotte Brontë and was surprised to find that Haworth was not served by a railway. He decided that this should be changed and put forward a proposal for a branch running from the station at Keighley to Oxenhope, which was warmly received by a number of mill owners and other influential people in the area as well as the Midland Railway, the owners of the railway through Keighley. The branch served 15 mills around its terminus as well as others on the line, and these were likely to be a source of traffic. The railway was incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1862 and the first sod was cut on Shrove Tuesday, 9 February 1864 by Isaac Holden, the chairman of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. The railway was built as single track, but with a trackbed wide enough to allow upgrading to double track if the need arose and the work was estimated to take approximately one year to complete. However, there were some delays: the time taken for the contractors to get possession of the land which the railways were to be built on; a cow eating the plans of the line somewhere near Oakworth; and, complications in digging the tunnel at the direct south end of Ingrow West. This manifested itself in that the tunnel walls, when bored, were oozing quicksand resulting in the application of piles being driven down to the bedrock to support and stabilise the tunnel. Unfortunately, this meant that the Wesley Place Methodist Church was damaged through the vibration and movement of the earth.


The rails were completed in 1866, tracklaying having started at each end and now being joined in the middle. The line was tested with a locomotive from Ilkley, which took nearly 2 hours to get from Keighley to Oxenhope, but just 13 minutes to get back. Violent storms struck the line in November of that year. The opening ceremony was held on Saturday 13 April 1867. Unfortunately, the train got stuck on Keighley bank and again between Oakworth and Haworth, necessitating splitting of the train before carrying on with the journey. Finally, on 15 April 1867, public passenger services on the Worth Valley commenced. The line was operated by the Midland Railway, who owned most of the rail network in the area, and was eventually bought by the Midland in part due to interest from the rival railway company, the Great Northern. Upon sale of the railway, the mill owners made a profit, which was unusual for many lines of that type, as (for strategic reasons) the Midland wanted to prevent the GN from taking over its territory. After becoming part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway in 1923 during Grouping, ownership passed to British Railways (BR) following nationalisation in 1948. On 6 November 1892 the deviation line between Haworth and Oakworth through Mytholmes Tunnel was opened and the original route abandoned. The deviation was built as a condition of the buy out of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway by the Midland Railway. The need for the deviation was to avoid a large wooden trestle viaduct that crossed a mill pond, as the locals believed the viaduct was unsafe, and supposedly many alighted at Oakworth and continued on foot to Haworth to avoid crossing the viaduct.


British Railways operated the last scheduled passenger train on Saturday 30 December 1961 and with no Sunday service the passenger service was deemed withdrawn from Monday 1 January 1962. Freight trains continued to run to Oxenhope until 18 June 1962. KWVR has a large collection of both steam and diesel locomotives, as well as supporting carriages and other rolling stock. The railway has amassed a large collection of Vintage Carriages over the years. Some are used to carry passengers on specially selected open days. The Railway runs through beautiful countryside stopping at numerouse carefully restored stations along the way. Oakworth is famous as the location for the filming of the 1970 film The Railway Children, starring Jenny Agutter, Dinah Sheridan, Bernard Cribbins, Sally Thomsett and Gary Warren. Restored to Edwardian condition, the station is lit by gas lamps and heated by up to four coal fires in winter (around eight months each year).


All stations have level access with no steps. A specially designed Disabled Toilet is available at Haworth and Oxenhope Stations, and the toilets at other stations all have step free access. The trains are operated by historic carriages built in the 1950’s or earlier. They have ‘slam’ type doors and a step into the train. They have recently overhauled one of ther carriages with accommodation for up to three wheelchairs, this carriage is usually conveyed on most of the buffet car trains. On other trains it is not always possible to convey wheelchairs through the usual carriage doors however they can be accommodated in the guard’s compartment of every train. The volunteer staff will give every assistance to you in your journey. All dogs are welcome but not on the carriage seats! There are two railway museums at Ingrow West. This is the ideal way to visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum


Location : Mill Ln, Oxenhope, Keighley, West Yorkshire BD22 9LB

Transport: Keighley (National Rail, KWVR).

Opening Times : Timetable

Tickets Unlimited Daily : Adult £16.00;  Child (5 - 15) £8.00;  Concession £14.00.

Tickets Day Return : Adult £11.00;  Child (5 - 15) £5.50;  Concession £10.00.

Tel: 01535 645214