Keighley and Worth Valley Railway face huge repair bill after Storm Ciara floods their engine shed

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway's flooded engine shed in Haworth
The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway's flooded engine shed in Haworth
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One of Yorkshire's best-known heritage railways has been badly affected by flooding caused by Storm Ciara.

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway's engine shed in Haworth bore the brunt of the weather on Sunday when a nearby beck overflowed. All trains were immediately cancelled.

Seventeen steam and diesel locomotives were in the shed at the time and a huge clean-up operation has now started.

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The site was also flooded after the Boxing Day 2015 storms and the preserved line took 12 months to recover financially.

Operations manager Noel Hartley fears that several of the engines will have to be sent away for costly repair work.

"When there is a surge of rain the beck gets so high that it breaches the bridge and floods our yard, which is only about 15ft away. It fills the tracks, the shed and the locos and then flows out the other end.

"The first time it happened was in 2005, and then again in 2015 - it seems to be happening more frequently. We're still assessing the damage to the engines.

"Steam engines don't come off too badly and we can clean their components ourselves, but the diesel-electrics have traction motors that are quite low down and they fill with water and silt. If they're ruined they will have to be sent away for an overhaul - for each engine it would cost between £12-13,000.

"It also costs a lot of volunteer time to take the locos apart. Last time it took us a year to fully recover, both from the clean-up and in terms of train availability."

Noel believes the flooding is worse than in 2015, although defences erected in the past five years were successful in protecting the volunteers' accommodation and some storage buildings.

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"There is a lot of work to do in the main sheds, we've got lots of volunteers with shovels in there now. There's rubble, sand, muck, tree debris - anything that is in a river is now in the shed, except fish!

"We plan to get trains back up and running next weekend but we took a financial hit on Sunday.

"We didn't receive any funding or donations last time - we had to manage within our budget, but this year there is a lot of outlay already on a £150,000 bridge replacement project. It couldn't have come at a worse time.

"You've got to question why this is happening more frequently. If it is, we need more support from the local authority. There seems to be a desperate need to build houses in unsuitable locations on flood plains, but not in the centre of Keighley, which is really in need of regeneration."