After several months of work, the project group has concluded that to provide the quality and scale of catering that will meet passengers’ current and predicted future needs, we are talking about a significant building and equipment cost and as a result the project will require external funding. At last week’s Board meeting, the project group presented our feasibility study and the funding proposal. I’m very pleased that there was unanimous support from the Society Board to continue to proceed with the Oxenhope café development, subject to the details of the funding being finalised and acceptable.
For Peter Eastham and his band of happy carriage and wagon restorers it is not all about keeping the carriage fleet in tip top condition interspersed with the occasional wagon thrown in for good measure.
This week his team completed the rebuild of something more narrow than standard gauge, more waggonway than railway. Given a ‘test run’ after a full rebuild the attached photo shows the latest renovation being put through its paces – a platform barrow, just completely rebuilt for the Stations Department in the C&W workshops. The skills needed are all present at Oxenhope and therefore they are prime candidates (victims?) to be chosen to restore this vital piece of the Worth Valley scene. It is reported the barrow rode well and held up when tested with the full load illustrated. However it is unlikely that this will be added to the passenger carrying fleet.
Do you have time on your hands and skills that are no longer being put to the test – there are always vacancies for any level of skill – just contact Haworth Station and let them know you would like to be involved.
Featured image: Peter Eastham
Last week we reported on the new Bradford Council initiative to get people to spend more time in the Worth Valley. The campaign has a number of elements – station posters, table top maps in our Mk. 1 carriages, an excellent website and, of course, the Visitor Guide available from all our stations, each telling visitors to the Railway just what is on offer throughout the Valley and what is accessible from each station. Here are examples of the posters at Keighley and Oxenhope and the table top map that travellers can study whilst travelling up the line.
Click on the poster below to go to the Worth Exploring website
In 2013 the Railway announced plans for a major redevelopment of the Oxenhope station environs centring on the provision of a permanent catering facility to provide visitors with a more substantial eating experience. The Oxenhope area is a Conservation Area and as such any developments have to be sensitive to the local environment. Taking the myriad of issues that surround conservation areas into consideration, plans sensitive to these issues were submitted for consideration by the planning authorities and a number of issues were raised by the Conservation Officer. The railway responded to the challenges he made to the original plans to his satisfaction and the Railway is pleased to announce that approval has now been granted, subject only to some ‘standard’ conditions but with no significant changes to the original design.
Now that planning approval has been received the Officers of the Railway can now work on the business plan to take this significant development forward.
Photographed on a wet Sunday in March the current catering facility looks forlorn and perfectly illustrates the great benefits the new café will bring, not only to hungry visitors but also to the aesthetics of Oxenhope station itself.
The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway is one of the few preserved railways to have a turntable. Originally built in 1884 for the Midland Railway and rescued from Garsdale on the Settle & Carlisle line in 1990, the Keighley turntable was installed in the long abandoned turntable pit at Keighley was now starting to need some attention to complement its fine surroundings. In recent days this traditional attraction has received the attention of Society workers and new decking has been fitted returning the table to its former glory.
Having protected the platforms at Bingley Station for well over 100 years, the gates pictured here are now serving a new station in the heritage era. They have been erected at Keighley Station to improve security on Platform 4. In a classic example of heritage and the modern railway working together, they have been kindly donated by Network Rail and Northern Rail.
Photos: James Horrell
It is believed that the gates were fitted at Bingley late in the 19th Century when the Midland Railway rebuilt the station. Guarding an opening a little larger than the ramp area on Platform 4, the gates were modified by SE Fabrication in Keighley to fit their new environment. It is good to see that another part of our railway heritage, however insignificant in the grander scheme of Railway Preservation, has found a new and vital role in an appropriate surrounding on a former Midland Railway branch line.
If anyone has further information on the installation of these gates at Bingley, we will be pleased to hear from you.
The stations staff have excelled in the Yorkshire in Bloom competition gaining a Gold and Discretionary Award for the Railway, the judges citing our connections with local people, young people, recycling and cleanliness generally and the links the Railway has with the local schools at each station and the enthusiasm of staff overall as well, of course, of the gardens themselves. Additionally Oakworth Sation received a Gold Award individually. Congratulations and thanks to all concerned.
Featured image: News@KWVR