* Prices may differ from that shown
It was my mam's 50th birthday at the end of last month so my parents and I decided to go away for a long weekend, with my sister and her children. My eldest nephew loves trains and has done since a very young age and as my other nephew and my niece like trains too we thought visiting Keighley & Worth Valley Railway would be something that would keep the children entertained. If the children are happy my mam is happy. We were staying in Shipley, West Yorkshire and we travelled to the railway by car.
~ What is it? ~
Keighley & Worth Valley Railway is Britain's last remaining complete heritage branch line which runs from Keighley to Oxenhope, West Yorkshire. All the stations along the line are old style and some of them have been used in films and TV. All the staff that work on the railway are trained volunteers.
~ Our Experience ~
The address on leaflet has a postcode on it so we typed it into the sat nav, thinking this would get us to the main station. It actually took us to Haworth (the only station you need to pay for parking at!) but had we read the inside of the information leaflet properly, there's a postcode for each of the stations.
We bought our tickets at Haworth station, where we parked our car. We asked for 2 family tickets but the ticket master said it would be cheaper for us getting one family day rover and a half rover (I'm a student) so he saved us quite a bit of money. It cost us around £40 in total for these tickets which was for 4 adults (2 of which are students) and 2 children (we had 3 children with us but my niece is only 3 so she was free) The parking was £4 each at Haworth station but when we presented the ticket we got £2 per ticket refunded.
All the children were very excited to be at the train station and we had to wait about 10 minutes for a train, after we'd bought our tickets. There's a gift shop at Haworth station and we all had a look in but we didn't buy anything. There were gift shops at most of the stations selling a variety of train related souvenirs etc.
The first train we got on was a diesel engine from Haworth to Oxenhope (the end of the end) ready to board the steam train from there. We sat right in the front of this train and the boys loved. While we waited for steam train, we went into the exhibition shed and looked at the trains that were there. All the children really enjoyed this and it made them more excited about going on the steam train.
When the steam train arrived we all got aboard and stayed on the train until we got to Ingrow West. There are 2 museums at Ingrow West, which is why we got off the train here, and if you buy a rover ticket (like we did) you get free entry into the museums.
We all enjoyed both museums, but one of them was bigger and had more trains and exhibits to look at.
*Museum of Rail Travel*
This museum has lots of train carriages on display and you can go into some of them. Some of the carriages are first class and they're really nice. We all enjoyed this museum. The information leaflet tells me that over 50 TV and cinema productions have featured carriages from this museum. The museum opens daily from 11am-4.30pm.
This was much smaller than the museum of rail travel but did have a train on display. There were displays and exhibits in this museum as well. The children were not interested in reading them so I felt like I didn't have time to read everything, I think I may have enjoyed it more had I spent more time reading the displays. You can also view the locomotives that are under restoration in the workshop from the upper gallery. I thought this was quite interesting. This museum is open on weekends and selected days in the summer.
We had quite a while to wait for the next train after we visited the museum so we decided to get something to eat as it was around lunch time. There was a pub just opposite the station but it didn't serve food, the man in the pub told us there was a take away cafe and a chip shop nearby, so we managed to keep everyone happy with one of the two. It was cold and started to rain (not the weather we'd have liked in the middle of august!) so we took our sandwiches/chips back to the station to eat them there. There was plenty of space for us all to sit inside the station as well as room for other passengers too.
We then got on the train again, this time from Ingrow West to Keighley (the other end of the line) and we got off and went to a cafe for hot drinks. The next train was due in around half an hour so we just waited in the cafe for a little while. We didn't need to get off at Keighley and as there didn't seem much to do there (as far as we could see right next to the station) and we didn't know our way round, we should maybe have just stayed on the other train.
Our last train journey was from Keighley to Haworth, back where we started so we could get the car. My eldest nephew wanted to go to the next station (Oxenhope) so we would have travelled the full length of the line in one sitting, but no one else wanted to and as we'd been on and off the train all day, the majority won the vote.
I didn't pay attention to how long we were on the train but the information leaflet says that the return trip of the railway line is 90 minutes.
The next day, we drove to Oakworth to look at the station as this was used in the 1970's film The Railway Children. We didn't want to travel on the train again so we bought platform tickets for 20p each. The signs that were up in the station say that this money goes towards the upkeep of the stations. The platform tickets also make a nice souvenir. We managed to find 7 20pence pieces between us but it proved difficult so if you are planning a visit and not going on the train it is a good idea to make sure you have enough 20p's.
We timed our visit to the station so we would see a train so we could take some photos. The children really enjoyed that too, and my dad asked the station master if he could take a photo inside the office, which was furnished in theme with the rest of the station, and this was no problem, the station master didn't seem to mind at all.
All the volunteers were very friendly and enthusiastic and were obviously interested in the roles they had within the station/on the trains. All the stations were authentic and well kept. All of the stations had a ladies waiting room although at one of the stations it was just the ladies toilets, at all the others it was an actual waiting room complete with fireplace, mirror and seats (leading through to the ladies toilets). Some of them had an old Hoover and others old fashioned suitcases. My mam and I felt these made the stations even more authentic!
Everyone had a great day out and we all agreed that it was worth buying the rover tickets rather than just return fares as we were on an off the trains a few times. (My eldest nephew enjoyed it so much that he wanted to do the train line again the next day, but this time on a diesel train instead of the steam one!)
There are special events on at various times throughout the year so it would be worth looking out for these if you are planning a visit.
Adult Day Rover.... £14
Adult Full Line Return.... £9.40
Family Day Rover....£33
Family Full Line Return... £23.50
Children 5-15....half fare
Children Under 5....free
Single and day return fares are available and concessionary rates are available for senior citizens and students in full time education.
* A great day out for all the family
* Train stations are authentic
* Rover tickets let you into museums for free
* Friendly staff
* Parking charge at Haworth station (parking at all other stations is free though)
* Trains times are often quite far apart so you could be waiting a while, but if you look at the timetable before you go you can plan around this.
* Hard to get something to eat around the stations although the gift shops do sell hot drinks and snacks
* Rain in august (British weather is so unpredictable!) - not really the railway's fault though!!
We all had a wonderful day and I would definitely recommend a trip here if you are in the area. Buying the day rovers allowed us to get on and off the trains as we liked and the whole outing filled the day in.
Telephone: 01535 645214
Haworth Station, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD22 8NJ
Thanks for reading!
The town where I live has one tourist attraction. The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, an authentic steam railway. This line was opened in 1867 and closed by British Railways in 1962. An action group of local people was formed in objection to this and along with other steam enthusiasts who were taking an interest, the Worth Valley Railway Preservation Society was formed. These volunteers took over the line and re-opened it in 1968, and it is still operated and maintained by volunteers today.
The Worth Valley Railway as it is more commonly known has appeared in various prime time television programmes including Last of the Summer Wine, Born and Bred, The Royal, Where the Heart Is, A Touch of Frost, and many others. It's next television appearance will be on BBC 2 on the 15th December, as an episode of the cooking programme Indian Food Made Easy has been filmed on it, also if you look closely at the walls of Roy's kitchen in Coronation Street, you will see Worth Valley Railway memorabilia adorning them.
Despite appearing in numerous television series over the years, it was the railway's roles in films that brought it to prominence, Yanks, and more famously the 1970 film The Railway Children.
As the name tells you, it's situated in the Worth Valley in West Yorkshire and runs between Keighley and Oxenhope in the heart of Bronte country, calling at four stations along the way, a journey of approximately 5 miles.
A round trip on the railway takes around 90-95 minutes and consists of the following stations.
Keighley, it's adjoined to the main train station, but the difference couldn't be more startling. The Worth Valley station is completely authentic 1950's in decor and appearance. Upon entering it's like going back in time, especially as the smell of the steam adds to the atmosphere.
Ingrow, a small authentic 1950's station where you can get off the train and visit the Museum of Rail Travel which is next to it.
Damems, Britains smallest station, again pure 1950's.
Oakworth, this is the station made famous in the film and is known as The Railway Children's Station.
Howarth, a lovely authentic station with a souvenir shop, picnic tables and you can also visit the locomotive works, or leave the station, follow the path behind it and you're at the bottom of Howarth's famous cobbled main street at the top of which is the world famous Bronte Parsonage Museum.
Oakworth, a genuine 1950's village station with a buffet and an immaculate picnic area.
A trip on this railway gives you a genuine experience of how train travel used to be in the days of steam. From entering the station to leaving at the end of you're visit, you're taken back in time. Every attention to detail is taken regarding authenticity at the stations. The trains and carriages are all perfectly restored to their original condition. You can just sit back, relax and enjoy a trip through the beautiful Bronte countryside, particularly once you pass Damems station, or if you're inclined to, have a locally brewed beer in the buffet car. If you've seen the Railway Children, you'll recognize the locations used in the film, particularly the Mytholmes tunnel, used for the landslide and paper chase scenes.
The railway is open all year round, daily in summer, but only weekends the rest of the time. Quite often special events and theme days are also held such as, Thomas the tank engine days, Santa steam specials, beer festival, jazz day, where music is played both on the trains and at the stations. Some upcoming dates planned for 2009 are,
Sunday 22nd March, Mothers Day Luncheon Train
Vintage Train Days, Sunday 3rd & Monday 4th May, Sunday 24th & Monday 25th May, Sunday 5th July, Sunday 2nd August
Saturday 16th May, 1940 / Wartime evening
Steam Gala, Friday 26th, Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th June
Diesel Traction Weekend, Friday 5th, Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th June
Steam Gala - Friday 26th, Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th June
Family Fun Weekend, Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th September
Saturday 26th September, 1920s evening
Saturday 22nd August, 1960s evening
Beer & Music Gala, Friday 23rd, Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th October
Saturday 31st October, Victorian Evening
Adult day rover allowing unlimited travel £14
Family day rover £33
Adult full line return allowing one complete round trip £9.40
Family full Line Return £23.50
Children under 5 are free, children 5-15 are half fare.
If you're really into steam trains and think you might visit more than once, membership might be a better option as members get three, free day rover tickets a year, and half price travel at most other times. Life members receive free travel on all regular service trains.
Membership prices are
Associate, available to any person living at the same address as an adult, life or senior member £10
Senior, 60+ £10
Junior, 5-15 £7.50
Family, two adults and up to three children £33
Adult, payable by 10 monthly instalments of £34, £340
Associate, available to any person living at the same address as an adult, life or senior member £200
Senior, 60+ £145
Senior Associate, available to any person living at the same address as an adult, life or
senior member £85
All stations are disabled friendly but the trains may cause difficulty with some of the older carriages so larger chairs can be transported in the guards van
There are toilets on the trains and at all the stations however Howarth has the only fully disabled accessible one.
The railway is well signposted throughout the district for road users, with bus stops immediately outside the station for public transport users. If you visit by train, simply leave the main station and enter the Worth Valley one and be transported back in time.
A lot more information including pictures can be found at http://www.kwvr.co.uk which is the internet site and which I acknowledge for providing some of the information in this review.