Throughout the year, 1940’s Weekends are a feature right across the country but one is arguably the best. Do not miss the Haworth 1940s Weekend, as Haworth village goes back in time when thousands of visitors, mostly in costume, swell the streets of the village and take the whole atmosphere back to the 1940’s. The event is run by the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Air-force Benevolent Fund (SSAFA) with the proceeds going to Forces’ Charities for the benefit of members of our armed forces and this year commemorates the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings of the 6th June 1944.
To see the wonderful time that all the visitors have, the sprit that the event generates and just how much time and effort groups of 1940s enthusiasts dedicate to recreating the Britain of the 1940’s, watch ‘Spirit of the 1940’s by Make A Difference Films of the 2012 Haworth 1940’s event. The 2013 event over the weekend commemorated the 70th Anniversary of the World War 2 Dambuster’s Raid.
Meanwhile down in the Valley, the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway plays its part in recreating the period and this year the Railway will be providing a unique experience when, for first time in 2014, the Railway will be running a steam service hauled by two locomotives specifically designed for the World War 2 war effort – 90733, a British WD class 2-8-0 and the only survivor of this seminally important design, and former USA Army Transportation Corp S160 class 2-8-0 number 5820, whose re-entry into traffic after a substantial rebuild was only completed early this year.
In 2013 WD 2-8-0 90733 and MR 4F 0-6-0 43924 shared the honours of the day. In these 4 images driver Andy Simkins and fireman Peter Turner pose against the commemorative headboard on 90733, 90733 named Remembrance in honour of those who fell during the war, 90733 rounds the curve south of Ingrow tunnel and 43924 approaches journey’s end at Oxenhope.
Photo: Peter Turner, Warren Camm and Ken Baker (2)
This video from the Penny Steam archives of the 2013 weekend gives an excellent flavour of what the railway has to offer to complement this wonderful weekend of celebration.
Before the event on Saturday morning, from about 9.30, the two World War 2 locomotives will be on display in Haworth Locomotive Yard and a small service of dedication and thanks will take place by the Rector of Haworth, the Rev. Peter Mayo Smith. The service will conclude with the departure of both engines into traffic at about 10.30. The public are encouraged to be present. Although access to the yard is likely to be restricted, an excellent view can be obtained next to the site, looking down onto it from the viewing area and Bridgehouse Road bridge.
For those who have not followed the story of these engines’ restoration, each has been rebuilt at a cost of about £400,000 each. When launched into traffic 5820 carried a fictitious British Railways number and black livery but the 1940’s weekend will see the locomotive back in traffic in its authentic World War 2 grey livery. The WD is the only survivor of a large class of locomotives built in the UK for service overseas after D Day and the S160 is the US equivalent. 2014 is the first time since the second world war, and the only place in the world, that this combination of locomotives can be seen. It could be said in Railway terms, these two locomotive classes are the ones that won the war. (* Some enthusiasts may dispute this claim.)
To mark this important return to service of this unique pairing of such important designs, present will be the U.S. Military Attaché to the UK, a senior British General and H.M. Deputy Lord-Lieutenant for West Yorkshire, Major Stan Hardy.
Because of the numbers that visit Haworth for the event the surrounding roads are very busy, consequently road access to the event is not easy, with parking sometimes being a mile or more away from the centre of events. Here the Railway has a big part to play in transporting people through the Valley to Haworth. If you are coming by car use one of our car parks at Oxenhope, Ingrow or Keighley. If the Keighley car park is full, then there is a large car park on the other side of Keighley Station, off Dalton Lane, which is provided courtesy of the Keighley Campus of Leeds City College.
However, if you let the train take the strain, via the national network, passengers can use the cross platform interchange at Keighley and take the frequent train service all the way up the Valley to Haworth.
Regular visitors will know that it is a steep climb from the station up the hill to the village. Fear not! A very frequent vintage bus service is provided all day to connect with trains at Haworth Station to take passengers to the top of the village, and it is all free of charge.
Photos: Ollie Morgan