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Keighley and Worth Valley Railway could carry commuters
Steam train on KWVR
The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway runs steam and diesel trains

Commuter trains could run along the famous Keighley and Worth Valley Railway (KWVR) again if the findings of a new report are accepted.

The report suggests the line could earn £1m a year from rush-hour commuters.

The KWVR was the backdrop to classic film The Railway Children and carries tens of thousands of visitors on steam and diesel trains each year.

Its volunteers are now considering the proposal and are due to give their decision within the next six months.

The study, funded by the Worth Valley Joint Transport Committee, suggests the KWVR could run four commuter services in the morning and again in the evening.

It proposes that weekday commuter trains could run from its stations at Oxenhope, Haworth and Oakworth to the mainline station at Keighley.

Founding fathers

Matthew Stroh, KWVR chairman, said it would be a return to the way the line operated when it was originally opened in 1867.

I am absolutely in favour of it if it helps us financially, but it is not simple"
Matt Stroh, KWVR chairman

"What we are looking at is the feasibility of re-opening the line as the founding fathers imagined," he said.

The five-mile branch line is owned and run by volunteers, and it is now up to them to accept or reject these new proposals.

Mr Stroh said he had reservations, but they should certainly be considered.

He said: "With the cultural challenge of bringing in paid staff in the morning and evening and putting different vehicles on the line, it would look different.

"I am absolutely in favour of it if it helps us financially, but it is not simple."

As well as its famous role in The Railway Children, the KWVR has also starred in many other films and television programmes including Pink Floyd's The Wall, The League of Gentlemen and Last of the Summer Wine.

Closed in 1962 after falling victim to the infamous Beeching report, which saw thousands of lines close in the 1960s, it re-opened to passenger traffic in 1968 thanks to the work of its volunteers.

'Big step'

KWVR workers
The KWVR is owned and run entirely by volunteers

Councillor John Huxley, chairman of the Worth Valley Joint Transport Committee, said he believed the commuter plan was viable.

"This is a big step forward from where we were before when previous reports said it would be uneconomic," he said.

But Matthew Stroh said the plan to carry commuters on the line would only go ahead if it gained widespread support.

He said: "If we can do something appropriate which supports the local community and our culture and is economically right then we will embrace that with open arms."

Keighley and Worth Valley Railway members are expected to give their response to the report's findings in the summer.




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