THE CELEBRATIONS of 50 years of operation are now really getting started.

We have a fantastic line-up of visiting locomotives planned for the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, both for our Spring Steam Gala running from March 9 to 11 and the Re-opening Special event, which will run from June 24 to July 1.

We are lucky to have two of the locomotives at the Spring Gala that hauled the very last passenger service operated by British Railways.

The ’15 Guinea Special’ rail tour ran on August 11 1968 and both 70013 ‘Oliver Cromwell’ and Black 5 44871 hauled legs of the journey. British Railways imposed a steam ban the following day, making the ’15 Guinea Special the last steam-hauled passenger service of the era.

Apart from a special dispensation for ‘Flying Scotsman’, the steam ban on the mainline remained in place until 1971, making pioneering heritage railways like ours the only places to see standard-gauge steam locomotives in operation.

The year we are celebrating five decades of operation, with June 29 being the 50th Anniversary of the re-opening of the.

It’s taken many years since that date to restore all the buildings and infrastructure on the route, which included moving stone-by-stone the station building from Foulridge to Ingrow to replace a building left derelict after many years of disuse and neglect before we took over the line.

Today, it’s hard to imagine the state of the site as it was in 1968, but a photographic history of the reinstatement of the station building and improvements to the Station Yard tell the story of the relocation of the station building.

Since then, there has been the development and expansion of the Museum of Rail Travel and Ingrow Loco museums, combining to form ‘RailStory’, which is well worth a visit if you are travelling with us.

A visit to both of the attractions is included in the cost of a Day Ticket on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.

Fifty years of operation and preservation would not have been possible without the efforts of volunteers since the Preservation Society was founded in 1962.

Since that year, time has been willingly donated by many thousands of volunteers to make the Railway what you see today.

We have many people still helping to run the operation today who were there at the reopening in 1968, and we are looking forward to welcoming back many of volunteers from the earliest days of operation to help us celebrate.

If you would like to become a volunteer and join the special group of people , please do get in touch. Even if you can’t I do hope that you will join us at the events through the year, or on any of the weekend and school holidays, to celebrate our 50th Anniversary.