Some people come to Haworth to be near the KWVR, staying for several days at a time. Others come here for just as long to be near the Brontes. Both want in one way or another to learn about their fields of interest. Yet more people come here, sometimes for a day, often for longer, because it is one of the most beautiful, one of the most picturesque, one of the most interesting places in Britain, if not the world. The KWVR has something for them all.
Buy a Day Rover, or if you are here for a few days, become a member of the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway Preservation Society, the Charity that owns the KWVR. This will give you three day’s free travel a year and half fare travel all the rest of the time. If you don’t join, then buy a Day Rover. If possible, travel on a Blue or Orange day when the travel choices are considerable and visit all the stations.
We assume you join at Oxenhope or Haworth, early in the day. Go to Damems first of all. The train will not stop there unless you ask the guard, so make sure you do that, or the train will sail through. Damems is a gem and a must if you are a railway enthusiast or anyone else with an eye for the finer things in life. It is tiny, the smallest railway station in the UK, but has a level crossing, signalbox, waiting room, a fantastic lavatory with a grim warning for those who leave it in a state and the most wonderfully atmospheric flush you have ever heard. Instead of a garden gnome, there’s a chimney in the flowerbed.
Damems is always difficult to visit on days when the service is limited, but easy when there are plenty of trains. It is usually best to get off there on a down-hill train (which for perverse reasons, this being England, is always referred to as the ‘Up’ direction, i.e. towards Keighley) and then catch the same service as it returns, going on to Oakworth in the uphill or ‘down’ direction. If you do this with a Rover, you will get about forty minutes at Damems and about the same at Oakworth.
Then catch the next up train at Oakworth to Ingrow. Alight here for a lengthy stay. If you started on say the second train of the day from Haworth or Oxenhope, it should by now be about noon. Spend an hour or two at Ingrow counting rivets in Ingrow Loco and the Museum of Rail Travel. There’s a ‘chip shop’ just outside the station yard gates which is the epitome of northern fisheries; also, it wobbles when a train goes through the tunnel underneath it.
Catch the next up train (you’re getting the hang of it!) to Keighley and watch the locomotive run-round the train, take water and so on. Grip the guard, talk to the locomotive crew and complain about the locomotive’s livery, which is bound not to suit some people!
Now go to Oxenhope, visit Mrs. Laycock’s fantastic buffet for afternoon tea and mooch around the Exhibition Shed. This is huge, the largest covered space in the area, which we use for storing some of the less regularly used coaches and about five or six of the core fleet of steam locomotives which have been used for ten years but are now withdrawn, awaiting their turn for overhaul. There’s usually about five or six more available for traffic and another four or five under overhaul at Haworth. A visit to the Exhibition will take about fifteen minutes. But please do not expect a museum; it’s a shed full of stored locomotives and rolling stock some of which see use from time to time, especially in the summer, so we can never say quite what is going to be in there. It is an operational building which from time to time has to be closed if items are being shunted in or out, to which the public are admitted. Although emphatically not a museum it is very interesting and it’s free!
Now catch the next train back to Haworth. The workshops at Haworth are closed to the public for obvious reasons. However, we do provide frequent Guided Tours of the Locomotive Shed and Workshops and you are welcome to join one. There’s never a charge, but we do ask you to consider a gift-aided donation to the Railway. Tours run on most Sundays and many days mid-week. There are posters around the Railway showing when they are available and the timetable section of the Railway’s web site always mentions the fact if there is at least one tour that day. Often there is more than one tour a day. If no tour is shown, you should feel free to ask at the Booking Office is one can be provided. Many of the guides live locally and if available, are happy to come to the Railway at short notice to take a guest round. Ask for Jim Shipley, Kath Lister, Stanley Ashworth or Richard Jones, who will try to arrange a visit for you if there is no convenient tour.
And so the day draws to a close……….
There’s lots more to see and do though. You’ve not been on the vintage ‘bus yet, nor have you understood why the Railway is there. You need to see and appreciate the industry and geography of the area to appreciate the Railway, simply seeing the physical railway is not enough.
A run on the Vintage Bus
Some people ask why they should go on a bus when they have come to a Railway. At the lowest level, the bus is simply fun and adds more enjoyment to your day out. For the more curable, you can’t possibly understand the KWVR unless you appreciate where it is, the topography in which it is set and most importantly, why it is there. Although the bus won’t give you a history or a geography lesson, the commentary which is usually given will set the Railway in context and you will see some stunning scenery, as the bus climbs to the top of the valleys up which the Railway runs.
Depending on when you travel, the bus will take you between Haworth and Oxenhope railway stations, via the two villages and over the moors made famous by the novels of the Bronte sisters. You will see ‘Top Withens’ which is supposed to be the setting for ‘Wuthering Heights’ and for the more esoteric, the spot where the BBC made the immortal Monty Python sketch ‘Wuthering Heights by Semaphore’. Other routes will take you down the east side of the valley alongside and looking down on the Railway, which gives a wonderful view of Bent’s Farm, which was used as the house called ‘Three Chimneys’ in the Railway Children film.
The Railway’s bus service connects with most train services at Haworth and runs every day in the summer and on summer Sundays. Its use is entirely free to holders of green Day Rover Tickets but a small charge is made to other passengers. If the hill between Haworth railway station and the village is a bit daunting for you, then the bus links the two locations. Many people use it simply to get to the village from the station. The bus will drop you at any bus stop in the village, but usually, the bottom or top of Main Street or the entrance to the Parsonage Car Park are the most popular stops and joining points.
Bronte Parsonage Museum
Probably the most famous literary location in the world, the Parsonage Museum is owned and run by the Bronte Society. The Railway has close links with the Parsonage and there is usually a joint ticket arrangement between the two organisations, which includes travel on the bus. Ask at the Parsonage or any booking office for full information.View full timetable