First “passenger” train on nascent KWVR

In a year of 50th anniversaries which have so far included the arrival of the first rolling stock and founding of the Vintage Carriages Trust, one 50th anniversary nearly passed un-noticed. On the 5th June 1965, with stock having arrived only a few months earlier, the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway operated its first ever passenger train, although it was a far cry from the 6 coach Keighley – Oxenhope trains that regularly make the journey up and down the Valley today. It would be another 3 years before regular passenger trains returned to the Valley.

Formed of Lancashire & Yorkshire 0-4-0ST 51218 and the Southern Railway ‘Matchboard’ coach no. 3554, the Railway offered rides out of Haworth Yard, under Bridge 26 and a short distance along Haworth loop in conditions that today would give any self respecting Safety Officer a heart attack. A few photographs survive of the day courtesy of Chris Bray and F. W. Smith and show not only enthusiastic men but wives and girl friends with children of all sizes queuing for a ride and swarming all over the tracks of Haworth Yard.

A small but insignificant step for which we are eternally grateful 50 years on.

WVL343On the same day photographer Martin S. Welch was in the Highlands of Scotland and by chance took this photograph of BR Class 20 D8031 at Kittybrewster Shed, Aberdeen complete with tablet catcher and snowplough. It would be many years before this locomotive was withdrawn and avoided the cutters torch by being preserved on the KWVR; today operational with its later numbering of 20 031.


First locomotive arrival on KWVR – 7th January 1965

It is exactly 50 years ago today  that the first locomotive arrived on the Railway, Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway 0-4-0ST ‘Pug’ 51218, purchased from Neath, South Wales by the L&Y Saddletanks Fund. The following extract has been re-created thanks to the kind permission of Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Trust.

Following withdrawal by British Railways in September 1964 and purchased by the Saddletanks Fund in November 1964, the Worth Valley Railway were glad to greet the arrival of their first locomotive, Pug 51218, on January 7 1965.


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