The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway
Keighley and the Worth Valley is rich in industrial history, and is home to a railway and bus museum. Platform 3 and 4 at Keighley Station have been designated to the Worth Valley Railway and the fully restored branch line. Take your seat on a vintage steam train departing from Keighley to Ingrow, Oakworth, Haworth and Oxenhope taking in beautiful views of the Pennine Yorkshire moors and Bronte Country along the way, plus key sites which featured in The Railway Children film, starring Jenny Agutter!
Thanks to the persistence of a railway preservation society and the popularity of Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte and the film ‘The Railway Children’, the 5 mile stretch of the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway has been lovingly preserved and restored. The Brontes unfortunately did not enjoy the benefits of this branch line in their own time (it was not ready until 1867, having been hampered by the floods of 1866), so they must have endured many trudges to Keighley to catch trains to transport manuscripts to publishers! In fact we know from Charlotte Bronte’s letters in Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘The Life of Charlotte Bronte’ that Charlotte was often met by friends at Keighley Station to then make the long trudge back to Haworth – this must have been horrendous in the middle of winter!
Travelling on the Worth Valley Railway
Travelling on the Worth Valley Railway is a delight and includes a stop at the signal box, a small hut known as Damems Junction near the smallest station on the line. Damems only has enough room for one coach and had a female crossing keeper for many years called Annie Feather. Whatever train you’re on – they’ll be an obligatory stop at Damems Junction box as this is the passing loop to enable two trains to be on the branch at the same time and pass each other.
Great deals such as ‘children go free’ across the summer season are regularly available, and each station along the line has its own unique character and attractions, with facilities including shops, buffets/ cafes and limited free parking/ mainline rail links from Keighley Station. Year round events and special themed trails include Vintage Cream Tea trains, Beer and Music Festivals, Santa Specials and more!
The Railway Children Walk & Oakworth Station
Oakworth Station was the key focus in the 1970 film ‘The Railway Children’ starring Jenny Agutter as Bobbie and Bernard Cribbins as the station porter. Oakworth Station has been lovingly restored and the Ladies Waiting Room is particularly impressive as a site of nostalgia. Pick up a Railway Children Walk guide from any of the shops at stops along the line. Key sites from the 1970s Railway Children film to watch out for include Doc’s house alias the Bronte Parsonage, the Three Chimneys House – Bents House near Oxenhope Station, the shops where the children collect gifts all in Haworth Main Street, Mytholmes Tunnel and of course Oakworth Station – the main setting for the film. The Railway Children Walk leaflet is available at Keighley Station shop and Haworth Tourist Information centre.