Picture Post: Novel reason for formation of famous Yorkshire railway line

Crowds watch a steam train pass Haworth Railway Station. Picture: Simon Hulme
Crowds watch a steam train pass Haworth Railway Station. Picture: Simon Hulme
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As quirky claims to fame go, it doesn’t get much better than the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway - the only railway in the world to be built because of Charlotte Brontë.

In 1861, a civil engineer named John McLandsborough visited Haworth to see the celebrated novelist but was surprised to find the village was not served by a railway line. He put forward a proposal for a branch running between Keighley and Oxenhope and it was up and running just six years later.

The line was closed in 1962 but after a successful campaign from a local preservation society, it reopened in 1968 and was famously used as a location in the classic 1970 film The Railway Children.

The five-mile line has proved highly attractive to many filmmakers, thanks partly to its look meaning it can be used as a location for any period between 1860 and 1960.

Television shows and films to use it over the years include Peaky Blinders, Brideshead Revisited, The Great Train Robbery and Last of the Summer Wine.

As can be seen by this picture taken at Haworth Railway Station, the line remains hugely popular to this day when steam engines pass along.

The five-mile journey is a unique way to enjoy the Yorkshire countryside immortalised by Charlotte Brontë and her sisters, while also offering passengers a practical way of getting to Haworth and the other stops on the line in Damems and Oakworth.

Next year, the railway will celebrate 50 years of operation as a working branch line heritage railway. To mark the anniversary, a £200,000 funding appeal has been launched to return the Ivatt class 2 tank locomotive to service in time for the celebrations in June next year. It is hoped the locomotive will be in operation to haul the society’s special anniversary train.

The hard work of the society over the years to maintain and develop the railway means it can be confidently predicted it will be full steam ahead for the line for generations to come.

Technical details: Data Nikon D3 camera with a 12-24mm lens, exposure of 1/250th sec @ f8, ISO 400.