KWVR – The Tour de France Railway

TdF6_IIJuly 6th, 2014 will go down in the history of the Keighley and Worth Valley, as the day when the Railway ran a record number of trains staffed by a record number of volunteers although, whether it carried a record number of passengers is disputable. Oh, and there is the matter of a cycle race that took place watched by a record number of people by the roadside. So records tumbled throughout the weekend as Le Grand Depart of The Tour de France took Yorkshire by storm.

The photographs only tell part of the story. Behind the photographs were weeks of planning and behind the scenes work on rolling stock, catering requirements and so much more which all came together to produce an intensive train service, the like of which the Railway has never seen in its long and humble existence. This was more like commuting into a big city rather than a journey along a quiet Yorkshire railway by-way.

Photo: inspiring images

The train service involved 2 diesel crews, 6 steam crews and 5 guard duties. The first rostered arrivals were the the first steam crew signing on at 5.10 in the morning to prepare the WD 2-8-0 90733 for the first steam duty of the day. They left Haworth yard at 07.25, being attached to the rear of the second departure from Oxenhope, that train being headed by EE 0-6-0 diesel D0226 on a rare day in passenger service.

From 05.10 (or even earlier) onwards volunteers arrived from all corners and in total it is estimated over 90 were working on the stations and signalling, about 15 on loco duties, over 20 looking after catering plus the civil department firefighters. Therefore in total there were in the region 130 volunteers helping to deliver a first class service for those visiting Le Grand Depart in Haworth and at Oxenhope up to Oxenhope Moor.

With the arrival of the very first train the passengers split approximately 50/50 between Haworth and Oxenhope. There were reasonable loadings on the first trains but it was the arrival of mainline trains from Skipton and Leeds that brought the anticipated surge with over 500 tickets being sold in the first wave. The wave continued throughout the morning until midday approached when by which time everyone was in their place to see the race.

With the race over many were keen to get back home and the trains for much of the afternoon were full and standing, some arriving at Haworth already with all seats taken. More tickets were sold for the journey back with many people deciding to take the train back to Keighley having made alternative arrangements to get up the Valley. However everybody, staff and passengers, were in good spirits and those at Haworth appreciated being offered the journey south, and therefore a longer trip, before heading north to Keighley (especially if it was the Mk 1 set with the buffet [bar]).

The next wave came when the race finished in Sheffield and tapered off by 17.30. That just left those staying for the Haworth Hub festivities before taking the last train to Keighley.

An amazing day, enjoyed by everybody and the Railway delivered a service that will be talked about for years and for which everybody who took part can take great pride in what was achieved.

The day in pictures

06.45 Platforms deserted, passenger flow in place and a mural with a well known railway theme is ready to greet the crowds.
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Photos: Top & bottom left, News@KWVR; bottom right Oliver Morgan

0-6-0 D0226 ready with the second northbound service at Oxenhope with WD 2-8-0 90733 in tow at the rear.
First Oxenhope service of the day on Oxenhope straight and first steam service arrives at Haworth.
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Photos: Top & bottom left, inspiring images; top and bottom right news@kwvr

The first passengers arrive and the first cues at the toilets begin.
Meanwhile at Oxenhope the passengers make for the Moor and the trains keep coming.
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Photos: Top left & right, bottom right, news@kwvr; bottom left, Christine Laycock

The ‘caravan’ passes Haworth Station, Fruit Shoot and Yorkshire Tea keep the crowd happy.
In the Yard, ‘City of Wells’ is on parade and 4F 43924 sporting a ‘West Riding Limited’ headboard arrives at Haworth prior to the race arriving at the head of the Valley.

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Photos: news@kwvr

The peloton passes Haw0rth station followed by the back-up teams
The race over, no longer top and tailing, D0226 hitches a lift to Haworth and the crowd swarm onto platform
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Photos: top, news@kwvr; bottom, inspiring images

It is 4.40pm, a deer crosses the line just ahead of 5820 on a southbound service.
Passengers get ready to head south to travel north and there is room for bikes in the guard van.
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Photo: news@kwvr

And the final photo of the day. Happy revellers who have had a great day want one final souvenir, a photo on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway
Home-time
Photo: news@kwvr

3 comments on “KWVR – The Tour de France Railway

  1. I have watched Tour de France in Yorkshire on French Television (France 2). But I was disappointed : not a word about the KWVR ! I was expecting, at least, a short footage showing Haworth depot. Nowt !. So thank you to have put these interesting pictures on line.
    Jean-Paul (3103)

    • Thank you Jean-Paul. As you can imagine we were very disappointed also. As the riders approached Haworth station, the TV switched to adverts as the next part of the race was on Haworth High Street with the cobbles, so from a cycling perspective it was more interesting.

  2. Excellent article. Interested re the comment re pass numbers. I know colleagues have been counting that now that the numbers are in along with the income data. Brian Steele

    On Saturday, July 12, 2014, Keighley and Worth Valley Railway News (

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