The time is right for regular passenger services to return to the Worth Valley railway line, according to local politicians.
Hundreds of planned new houses across the valley, traffic congestion in Keighley and next year’s Tour de France passing just yards from the line have led to fresh calls to re-introduce ‘full-time’ passenger trains.
Regular services ceased in the 1960s, but the line was re-opened by volunteers as a tourist attraction.
A report by Arup released in 2010 concluded returning services to the line would be viable, costing £550,000 but bringing in £1 million annually. Little progress has been made since, but with the world-famous cycle race passing through the valley next July, Councillor Ralph Berry thinks the line should ride the Tour de France publicity.
He said: “The report came out in 2010, but I know people want them to have another look at this.
“Having read the report, I’m surprised at how positive it is about introducing a regular service.
“I think it would be a fantastic opportunity to get people onto trains. That is what the railway was built for, so I hope people get together and make it happen.”
And Coun Berry feels with many stops on the line also being on the Tour route, now is the perfect time to progress the idea.
Jim Shipley, who works on the railway, said: “In general, the railway does try to put on extra trains at busy times, and we are running more trains than ever.
“This always comes up for discussion from time to time.”
He added if a regular service was to return, it would likely be in the form of a railway operator paying for access to the track, with it still being operated by Worth Valley staff.
Worth Valley Joint Transport Committee, made up of councillors from Oxenhope, Haworth and Keighley, has been looking at the issue for several years.
It says there are many other factors that weigh in favour of bringing passenger services back, including congestion in Keighley and the call for 1,000 new homes to be constructed across the Worth Valley.