Report paves way for villagers to commute by steam

COMMUTERS in part of Yorkshire could soon have the option of travelling to work on a famous steam railway.

The Worth Valley Joint Transport Committee (JTC) has published a marketing study concerning the viability of returning daily passenger services on the internationally-famous steam heritage Keighley & Worth Valley Railway (K&WVR) in West Yorkshire.

Last year the JTC, the body that oversees the public transport interests of the three parish councils who have responsibilities in the Worth Valley: Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council, Keighley Town Council and Oxenhope Parish Council commissioned Leeds-based consultants Arup to investigate whether the return of community rail services to the five-mile long branch line would be viable or not.

The report reveals that there might be a viable economic case to return services to the railway that was saved from closure in 1962 by enthusiasts and local residents.

Coun John Huxley, chairman of the Worth Valley Joint Transport Committee and Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council, said: "When the Joint Committee was formed in 2008 our major objective was to see whether the oft-voiced theory that the railway from Keighley to Oxenhope should be re-opened for daily community passenger services held water – or not. We have achieved that objective by providing, together with Metro, a study that says such a re-opening is possible.''

Dr Matthew Stroh, chairman of the K&WVR, said: "The challenges of running a daily early morning and evening service are not easy to overcome, but then who would have believed we could rise to the challenge of being among the first to re-open a full branch line and be as successful as we have over the past 40 years of doing so?''