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Visitors flock to Keighley’s heritage railway to celebrate classic movie
Keighley & Worth Valley Railway spokesman, Jim Shipley, shows off memorabilia from the film at Oakworth Station during the special celebration weekend
Visitors flocked to Keighley’s heritage railwa to celebrate a classic movie that catapulted the line to international fame.
Activities were staged during three days showcasing the 1970 film version of The Railway Children, Edith Nesbit’s timeless tale.
The movie, directed by Lionel Jeffries, was shot on the five-mile Keighley & Worth Valley line.
Among the weekend’s attractions was a visit on Sunday by Chris Witty, who starred in the film as Jim, the young runner who injured his leg after falling in the tunnel and was nursed back to health at Three Chimneys.
He turned out to be the grandson of the Old Gentleman in the movie. Mr Witty chatted to visitors, signed autographs, ‘revisited’ the tunnel and rode in a loco cab.
“Chris was delighted to be back and spent several hours with us,” said Keighley & Worth Valley Railway spokesman, Jim Shipley.
“The response from the public showed the huge amount of fondness people still have for the film and the high regard in which it is held by so many, taking them back to another age.
“The Railway Children weekend is not one of our bigger events but it is always popular. It was very busy, particularly at Oakworth on Sunday.”
In a tweet, Mr Witty said: “Big thanks to Jim Shipley and his team for making my visit to where we shot The Railway Children a special day – 1970 seemed like yesterday!”
Other attractions during the weekend included displays of photos and film memorabilia, guided tours of Oakworth Station and a stall serving tea and homemade cakes.
Costumed actors recreated scenes from the film, and people could watch the movie in ‘Mr Perks’ office’.
Signed copies of the award-winning book – The Making of The Railway Children – were also on sale. It was written by Mr Shipley, who is planning an updated version.
“Chris came up with a few anecdotes about his days filming here, and they will be included in the new edition, which will be out before Christmas,” he said.
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