Friday 30th December 2011 will be a special day for both volunteers and visitors at the famous Keighley & Worth Valley Railway as they recall the 50th anniversary of the last ever passenger train and the line’s closure by British Railways.
50 years on, the Society which rescued the line and developed it into a leading tourist attraction will be remembering that fateful day by recreating the last ever train using exactly the same type of diesel unit which operated on 30th December 1961.
BR’s last Worth Valley branch train was set off from Keighley by the local mayor, so the KWVR has invited the current Mayor to repeat this gesture on Friday 30th December 2011 when he will wave off the final train of the day from Oxenhope at 5.30pm and Keighley at 6pm.
KWVR spokesman, Kieran Pilsworth, recalls:
“British Railways closed the line because it was difficult to manage and passenger numbers were declining.
“The railway would have being lost forever if not for the formation of the Keighley and Worth Valley Preservation Society.
“Thanks to our team of dedicated, skilled and qualified volunteers we now have something of a national treasure, attracting over 100,000 passengers per year and contributing around £6m pounds to the local economy.
“We are delighted to be able to mark this anniversary.”
Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said:
“The railway continues to delight visitors from around the country and the globe every week and plays a key role in attracting visitors to our great county.
“It is steeped in history and this event celebrates a turning point in the fortunes of this particular railway and the eventual birth of a new tourist attraction.”
The railway is looking forward to the next 50 years and ‘Mince Pie Special’ steam trains will be operating daily over the Christmas and New Year holidays from Boxing Day to 3rd January.
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