Keighley and Worth Valley Railway

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Family including children under 16

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Do you remember the film of “The Railway Children” with Jenny Agutter – well this was where it was filmed…

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is a delightful short branch line running through some splendid West Yorkshire scenery. It is also renowned among beer lovers as the only heritage railway in the world to offer real ale on board its trains. Copper Dragon from Skipton was on today.

Starting from Keighley, the town is soon left behind as the line winds up through the Worth Valley to Haworth and the terminus at Oxenhope. The derelict mill buildings remind you this was once a thriving wool area. The line follows the river through pastures yellow with buttercups with the bare hills beyond.

It is a leisurely run with a 20 minute layover at both Keighley and Oxenhope. Time to get out, have a quick cup of tea, look in the shop and watch the loco run round. The stations are manned and still painted in the Midland Railway colours of red and cream and are very stylish. Volunteers keep the gardens looking nice. The trip is pure nostalgia. Haworth Station has copies of the iconic Railway posters from the 40s and 50s advertising the delights of the British Countryside.

There is a small exhibition in the engine shed at Oxenhope with several steam locos and old coaches. These have to be admired from the ground and remind you just how big even the small tank engines were. There are two museums at Ingrow. One has a small loco and several vintage carriages. Steps and a walkway give access to all of these. There are models and a taped commentary explaining how to fire the engine and about travelling by train. On the walls are old railway signs. At the back of the shed are the workshops where you can watch volunteers at work. Today someone was varnishing the outside of a wooden coach. Workmanship and finish are excellent. The other museum is smaller and has two small locos. It has information about the people who worked on the railway and their duties. Again there are more signs on the walls.

At Haworth there is a picnic site with a viewing area over the railway yard where locos are prepared for service.

There is a charge for the museums, unless you have an all day rover ticket, when entry is free.We were very impressed by both museums. There is just enough material to keep the attention but so much that you go into overload.

There are small shops at Keighley, Ingrow, Haworth and Oxenhope selling a range of Railway books, Hornsby model locomotives for the grown up kids and Thomas for the little ones. At Oxenhope a refreshment coach provides basic food and drinks on the platform. Some trains have a buffet car serving some food, drinks and two or three draught beers on tap.

On weekdays during the school holidays there is a vintage bus service to the top of the town and a scenic tour of the moors. This is free with an all day rover ticket.

A return ticket cost £10 and an all day rover which includes entry to the museums costs £15 or £12 for OAPS. However they also sell family tickets (2 adults and up to 3 concessionary fares) for £35. Concessionary fares also includes grandparents so making this a cheap day out for all three generations.

The railway is popular with all generations. The journey is not too long so small children get bored and fractious. There is plenty to do and see to occupy all ages. A wheel chair and lifts are provided in the museums at Ingrow for those of us not as nimble on our feet. They also have a coach which can accommodate up to three wheelchairs on trains with a buffet car.

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