The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway (KWVR) ran a special train on 30 December to commemorate 50 years to the day since British Railways withdrew passenger services along the West Yorkshire line.
Yorkshire Heritage line recreates last British Railways passenger train of half a century ago.
On the penultimate day of 1961, a BR Class 108 Diesel Multiple Unit pulled out of Keighley for Oxenhope at 11.15pm waved off by the then town’s mayor. On the same day in 2011, the KWVR’s own Class 108 DMU was waved off by the town’s current mayor in a recreation of the event - although at the more civilised time of 6pm.
The KWVR train, formed of vehicle Nos. 51565 and 50928 in authentic 1960s green livery, carried miniature headboards with the words ‘Spirit of Bradford’. On board was not only the mayor of Keighley councillor Tony Wright, but also the Lord Mayor of Bradford councillor Naveeda Ikram and other VIPs.
British Railways closed the line to passengers in 1961 and to goods traffic the following year. But it was rescued by the KWVR Preservation Society who brought it back into use as a tourist line in 1968. Today it is thriving again as one of the best steam and diesel heritage lines in the country and a top tourist attraction in Yorkshire.
The five mile route twists and turns along the river valley with an average uphill gradient from Keighley of 1 in 70. There are four intermediate stations including one at Haworth - famous as the home of the Bronte sisters.