Keighley and Worth Valley Railway reveals plans for 2021 after fight for survival

A heritage railway service in Yorkshire has revealed details of its plans for 2021 after a fight for survival last year.

A Keighley and Worth Valley Railway steam gala. Picture: Simon Hulme.
A Keighley and Worth Valley Railway steam gala. Picture: Simon Hulme.

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway has unveiled a number of its events, including an Easter weekend themed around Alice in Wonderland, delayed celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Railway Children film and Jurassic fun in summer time.

It comes following a year in which the charity managed to raise more than £300,000 in donations to its Worth Saving appeal - in addition to various grants - to keep itself afloat after being in grave trouble because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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KWVR chairman Dr Matthew Stroh said that "2020 has indeed been a challenging year, starting with a deluge of flood water before the impact of the global pandemic become apparent.

"We have had fantastic financial support from many people and organisations, including very generous and welcome grants from the National Heritage Lottery Fund as well as both central and local government.

"However, the people I would like to thank most directly are the Railway’s members and supporters who kindly put their hands in the pockets and helped us raise nearly £300,000 in donations.

"Without their support, we would have really struggled to cope with the financial impact of the pandemic and to them, as well as to the grant giving bodies, my sincerest thanks on behalf of the Railway.

"Together they have helped us ensure that we are in a good place to continue to enjoy steam in the Worth Valley for another 50 years."

Some of the first events of the year will be the Pullman Dining Experiences, which take place on various dates from February 14.

Visitors can climb aboard restored 1930s Pullman carriages and "enjoy Yorkshire

hospitality at its very best," with a three course hot meal.

During the Alice and Wonderland event from April 2 to 5, the railway will be transformed into an "enchanted" scene where visitors can meet characters, watch the Mad Hatter’s tea party and chase the White Rabbit.

Ticketholders can board a steam train at Oxenhope and travel to Keighley Station in their own private compartment.

Times and prices are still being finalised for the event.

Events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the film version of the Railway Children were postponed in 2020, so will instead be held between May 28 and 31.

The newly restored 957 ‘Green Dragon’ and carriages that appeared in the film will be in service and a special Pullman dining service will be available for advance bookings.

There will be displays about the making of the film, re-enactments of movie scenes at Oakworth, an outdoor film showing the classic in Keighley and some of the cast will attend.

On June 26 and 27, the Jurassic Specials event will take place, with round trips from Oxenhope.

Youngsters will be able to see an animatronic T-Rex and raptor, get close to the baby dinosaurs and handle live reptiles.

The Oxenhope Exhibition Shed will be transformed back to the Jurassic era, and families can ride in decorated private carriages and enjoy spotting dinosaur eggs at each station.