Exactly half a century after it steamed out of Keighley, the workhorse engine Ivatt 2-6-2T, number 41241, was back on the rails yesterday to recreate the birth of one of Yorkshire’s first heritage lines.
Most of the original British Railways carriages were hooked up for the re-running of the inaugural service, at the end of a week of anniversary celebrations on the Keighley and Worth Valley Line to the Railway Children station of Oakworth.
The town’s former MP, Ann Cryer, who is also the railway’s president, was among the invited guests as the train set off on the stroke of 2.35, just as the original had done. Mrs Cryer’s late husband, Bob, who was Keighley’s MP from 1974, was the first chairman of the preservation society that bought the line and reopened it following its axing from the national network. He had a small role, as a guard, when The Railway Children was filmed on the line.
Yesterday’s anniversary also saw a present-day Class 66 diesel freight locomotive renamed “Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. 50th Anniversary 1968-2018”, in the society’s honour.
The organisation said it was “delighted” with the tribute.