Keighley & Worth Valley Railway Commuter bid hits buffers

First published in Keighley by

Proposals to return a regular community rail service to the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway (K&WVR) have been shelved.

Following more than five years of detailed debate, councillors on a committee investigating the idea say they have accepted there is not enough political will to make the project work.

Councillor John Huxley, chairman of the Worth Valley Joint Transport Committee, which includes councillors from Haworth, Oxenhope and Keighley parish and town councils, said: “We, in conjunction with management at K&WVR, have conducted exhaustive enquiries into the viability of the introduction of a community rail service to the route.

“In 2009 we, together with Metro and Bradford Council, funded a study by the Arup Partnership. While that concluded such services were operationally entirely possible, they would need to be subsidised.

“Last January, we met the railway, the Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) and Bradford Council to discuss the situation and the results of a further study undertaken by Metro into the project.

“It was made quite clear to us by the ITA officers and Bradford Council they would not recommend the level of subsidy the study concluded would be required to deliver the service.

“Given we as local councils are not blessed with the kind of funds necessary to pursue the project on our own behalf, we’ve reluctantly concluded that, for the moment at least, there is no point in pursuing the project any further.”

Coun Huxley added he and his council colleagues had worked productively with the K&WVR, and fully understood the organisation’s position of not being able to fund such a project on its own behalf.

“We’ve taken the idea as far as we can, and without the necessary funding from regional or central government, we’re not able to advance the concept any further,” he added.

“The public funds invested in the feasibility studies have not been wasted because besides looking at the railway and its future as a community transport asset, they have generated discussions at many levels about the future public transport needs in the Worth Valley.”

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