KEIGHLEY’S iconic locomotive Bahamas will again steam out on to the Settle-Carlisle Railway on February 22.

The historic train was last year packed with passengers for its first two mainline trips since being restored by volunteers with Heritage Lottery Fund money.

Organisers hope that this year’s foray on to the tracks will be just as popular with train buffs and families alike, as Bahamas travels over one of the most spectacular and best-loved stretches of railway in Britain. Passengers can board the 85-year-old locomotive, numbered 45596, at Haworth, Keighley and Skipton stations.

The locomotive was saved from scrap in 1967 by the Bahamas Locomotive Society after getting through nine boilers, ten tenders and running more than 1.25 million miles. The volunteer-run society is now based at Ingrow station on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway (KWVR), where it has a workshop and museum.

The railtour is being offered by the KWVR following two sell-out railtours in 2019. The organisation describes the Settle-Carlisle Railway as a masterpiece of Victorian engineering that boasts the highest railway summit in England at Ais Gill, 1,169 feet above sea level.

Passengers are promised breathtaking views as pass over the magnificent 24 arch viaduct at Ribblehead, as they travel over the highest railway summit in England before the descent towards Carlisle. There will be approximately 2.5 hours of free time in Carlisle to explore the city before the departure back.

Bahamas, a favourite locomotive with enthusiasts and regular tour travellers, was built as a standard Jubilee Class in 1934 by the North British Locomotive Company and entered service in January 1935. It was withdrawn from traffic on July 23 1966 after getting through nine boilers, ten tenders and running over 1.25 million miles.

The 85-year-old locomotive is regarded an important part of rail heritage, and was saved from scrap in 1967 by the Keighley-based Bahamas Locomotive Society; a charity that aims to preserve railway history.

The railtour will be led by a new generation of volunteers from both the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and the Bahamas Locomotive Society.

Noel Hartley, Operations Manager at the KWVR, said: “Volunteers are at the heart of everything we do. Exciting events such as this Bahamas Railtour help us to continue attracting the new generation, one of our current challenges. It’s fantastic that so many of our young and new volunteers are involved in this trip.”

Keith Whitmore, chairman of the Bahamas Locomotive Society Chairman, said his organisation was delighted to once again work with friends and partners at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway following the sell-out Settle to Carlisle trips last year.

He added: “This will certainly be a must in the 2020 railtour calendar with crowds lining the route to see our popular loco.”

First class tickets with refreshments cost £149 each. Passengers will be served a locally-sourced bacon sandwich, pastries and cakes, crisps and snacks, a “decadent” cream tea and beverages. Standard class tickets are also available at £79, and those passengers will be able to buy from a selection of refreshments.

High-profile visitors to Bahamas since its restoration have included HRH the Duke of Kent and the Bishop of Wakefield, Tony Robinson.

Bahamas underwent a restoration lasting several years, carried out by both volunteers and specialists, thanks to a £1m grant from the National Heritage Lottery Fund. The grant also funded the Locomotive Society’s Learning Coach, a railway carriage transformed into an education and exhibition centre.

Pictures are courtesy of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway unless otherwise stated.

* Visit or call 01535 645214 for further information on the Bahamas railtour, or to book tickets.