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~The Railway Grown-Ups~

12th January 2013

Peter Ratcliffe and I revisit the place of many happy childhood memories. The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is a preserved line in West Yorkshire and the location for the (1970) filming of Edith Nesbit's 1905 book "The Railway Children". The line runs from Keighley to Oxenhope.

Damens Station

BR Ivatt 2MT No. 41241 enters Damems Station

Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....

Oxenhope Station

Oxenhope Railway Station

Opened as the southern terminus of the Worth Valley line in 1867, it closed with the rest of the line in 1962. The line's original primary purpose had been to supply coal to the many wool mills in the valley. Oxenhope Station is located 600ft above sea level.

Oxenhope Sidings Old Oxenhope Lane
Oxenhope Sidings
Old Oxenhope Lane

The first train of the day, the 09:00hrs to Keighley is provided by Railbus: Waggon & Maschinenbau M79964. Our walk leaves the railway and heads for Haworth via farm roads and fields, rather than the lineside route.

Snowden's Farm

Snowden's Farm

Is it an optical illusion? The house appears lopsided, but the trees and the unusually-sited lamp-post don't! Peter and I were wondering if the light comes on at night.

St.Michael & All Angels, Haworth

Church of St.Michael & All Angels, Haworth

Visitors to this website may recall the name of the church in Sheldon, last week!

Bronte Parsonage

The Brontë Parsonage

Reopens on Saturday 9th Feb 2013, after a period of decorative restoration. We walked down Haworth Main Street en route to the railway station.

Kings Arms Haworth Haworth Main Street
Kings Arms, Haworth
Main Street, Haworth

Haworth Views

Haworth Railway Station

Haworth Railway Station

How many thousands of children have stood on this bridge and watched steam engines blast their way under them? I think most of us take it for granted that there are steam engines to be found on preserved lines around the country. They've always been there, haven't they?

George Robert Cryer

"Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice"

How many other creations, buildings, legacies etc. can you think of which would deserve such a fine, personal memorial? When Beeching, his predecessors and allies called on railways to close and lines to be lifted and scrapped; engine metals to be recycled and staff to find alternative employment, could they ever have imagined the recovery of rural routes, the thriving lives of the preservationists and the substantial economical benefits to the local economies? And so to Oakworth, next stop on the line...

Oakworth Railway Station

Oakworth Railway Station

As seen in the 1970 film, with Station Master Perks (Bernard Cribbins).

Me at Oakworth

Me at Oakworth Railway Station (hands still in pockets)

Oakworth circa 1972

Me at Oakworth Railway Station (hands in pockets) c.1970

This photo has been shown on here on an earlier date/visit. Sorry for the repetition, but they were halcyon days, even the sun was shining.

To Damens

To Damems

The Worth Way (walk route) takes you to Damems via Cackleshaw and a few fields.



Looking back to Cackleshaw, a small hamlet of barns converted into fine homes.

BR Ivatt 2MT No. 41241

BR Ivatt 2MT No. 41241 at Damems

Built in Crewe in 1949 and always in active service on the network, No.41241 ended up at Skipton in 1965 and was bought from there for the KWVR in 1967, arriving under its own power. The locomotive hauled the first train at the reopening of the branch line in 1968 and has become synonymous with the Railway ever since.

Damens Train Damens Railway Station
Leaving Damems
Damems Railway Station

Damems is said to be Britain's smallest railway station.

Keighley to Queensbury Line

The Keighley to Queensbury Line (disused)

The Worth Way continues towards Ingrow West Station and then Keighley. Closed and lifted in 1965, this was the bed for the former railway line to Queensbury. Luckily a walkers' diversion is available to the left of the photo, rejoining the route beyond the puddle.

Ingrow West Station

Ingrow West Railway Station

Peter is looking for a way out, maybe he's had enough! All is not what it seems to be. This building was originally located at Foulridge (Lancs., near Colne) and was bought by the KWVR. Every stone was numbered and replaced exactly to make this fine station. Ingrow East was on the other line to Queensbury and some 40ft higher up the hillside (right of photo).

Ingrow East Station

Ingrow East Station (1965)

Full credit to the Disused Stations website, from whom I have gained no permission. Please don't tell over me. The Worth Way goes along the road to get to Keighley, an unfortunately, noisy and unattractive part of the walk.

Keighley Railway Station

Keighley Railway Station

We knew all along that a return to Oxenhope by rail was a possibility, the other options being by bus or walk a different route. It happened that the 13:15hrs service was resting in Platform 4, so we bought our tickets and boarded the four carriage, well populated train.

Exchanging tokens

A Token Exchange

Is the driver giving his handbag to the man in orange? No, they are exchanging single-line tokens. Without the right one, the driver is not allowed to proceed beyond the points and into Oakworth.

Oakworth Railway Station Haworth Railway Station

Somehow Oakworth is a brighter station than Haworth, the observant will notice that they are on opposite sides of the line. This was so that the train doors on both sides got plenty of use and didn't seize up*.

Class 37 Diesel Loco

Haworth Motive Power Depot

The blue and yellow train is not a steam engine. It is a Class 37 Diesel Locomotive and may be here in readiness for the "Diesel Gala", 26th - 28th April 2013. Bit early, you might think.

Oxenhope Train

The End of The Line

Back where we started at Oxenhope Station.

* this is not actually true.

Walkers: Peter Ratcliffe and Me.

Time taken: About four hours over a distance of about 6.5 miles, but this includes breakfast in Haworth and much dwelling at the stations.

Route: Oxenhope, Marsh Top, Old Oxenhope Lane, Snowden's Farm, Haworth, Haworth Railway Station, Oakworth Railway Station, Cackleshaw, Damems Railway Station, Ingrow West Railway Station, roadside to Keighley Railway Station.

Weather and Conditions: Cool with weak sunshine at times.

Anorak Count: Not too many enthusiasts on the line today, they tend to head for gala events and the mainline specials.

Richard's Refreshment Review: We took breakfast in the Villette Coffee House in Haworth. A fine place for freshly-cooked food. On the way home we had a coffee in a new establishment in Colne. This may be of interest to East Lancashire locals. "About Coffee" is not a cafe, it is a coffee shop and specialises in coffees, even grinding beans for you to take away and offering Coffee Courses for those with machines and no knowledge of how to use them.

About Coffee in Colne

About Coffee, Colne

The Keighley & Worth Valley Line

Most photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2013 ©

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Take me back to the start ....

Take me home....