As snow covers West Yorkshire and temperatures drop well below freezing, it is hard to remember the summer sunshine when the area basked in the limelight of that July weekend in 2014 when the Tour de France took our part of the world by storm. Many organisations pulled out all the stops to ensure a good time was had by all and none rose more magnificently to the challenge than the Volunteers of the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. Over 100 individuals worked on the Railway on the second day of the Grand Depart, travelling from all corners of the country, to ensure that the Railway delivered its contribution to this monumental event.
They say that self praise is no praise, and it is therefore with great pleasure that the Railway will shortly to be presented with a ‘Significant Achievement Award’ by Keighley Town Council for the fantastic work of those volunteers on the Tour de France weekend, a reminder of the amazing efforts of so many volunteers that made that weekend such a success.
Vive la France! (or at least “vive” the bit of it that descended on Yorkshire last weekend). In unprecedented scenes, around 2.5 million visitors are estimated to have lined the route of the Le Yorkshire Grand Depart, as the cyclists raced from Leeds to Harrogate and then on day two (our day!) from York to Sheffield. The Railway was at the centre of a very stretched transport system as road closures and the party atmosphere meant that visitors wanted to – or in many cases had to – leave their cars at home. In response, we timetabled our most intensive service ever, with the first trains leaving Oxenhope at 0640 and Keighley at 0730, and the last round trip leaving Oxenhope over 12 hours later than the first departure in order to make sure that the revellers could all get back down the valley. We had two trains running all day, and thanks to auto-train operation (‘top and tailing’ the train with a steam loco at one end and diesel at the other) and the use of a third steam locomotive that could be serviced at Keighley after the departure of the train it had arrived on, we achieved a service every 35 minutes at the most intense periods of operation. Continue reading →
July 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.
With the potential for the Railway to have a record number travelling on the Railway, the first train in the morning leaving Oxenhope at 06.40 and the last train not arriving back at the terminus until 20.25, the Railway issued a ‘call to arms’ to the members for extra volunteers to take ‘action stations’ on the Sunday of the Tour de France.
At his last count, with one week to go, Operations Manager, Noel Hartley, has rounded up a record over 90 volunteers to man the Railway for that day and, with just a few days left, has vacancies that he still needs to fill. So if you would like to help the Railway on this flagship day, why not drop Noel a line offering your services. Click here to send him a e-mail. Continue reading →
With just 3 weeks to go before the Tour de France hits the Worth Valley, the Railway has released the full details of the train service that will be operating that day, to bring the expected crowds into the Valley.
For anyone wanting to see the race as it passes up the Valley, the only way into the Worth Valley will be by train from Keighley on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. As a result of the road closures and the many people arriving into the area by train, the Railway is rising to the challenge and will be running an intensive timetable throughout the day.
Click here to visit the main website for full details and the timetable that will operate on the day.
With just over 5 weeks to go, the national railway companies have been planning the logistics for moving thousands of people around Yorkshire to watch the various stages of the Tour de France. With road closures forecast to cause chaos on the roads around the County the railways are seen as the most effective way of getting around the course and close to the action.
The second stage of the Yorkshire section on Sunday 6th July, not only comes into the Worth Valley, but will pass alongside Haworth station before taking a right turn into Bridgehouse Lane before crossing the Railway and heading up the hill into Haworth – cobbles and all. Haworth Park has been designated as an event “Hub” by the organisers.