KEIGHLEY district's newest tourist draw is on track to open this spring.

A historic water tower on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway is being transformed into a visitor centre.

And bosses of the world-famous heritage line said this week it's hoped work will be complete by the end of April.

"That is our current aim – although various factors may affect it," a spokesperson told the Keighley News.

"Most of the underfloor work is finished, but with some still to be done around an old well, and a new double-door has been installed.

"The electrics and lighting are to be completed, and internal walls whitewashed.

"Once the contractor has finished, it'll be handed over to a volunteer team to install interactive displays, screens and projectors, and then the content will be loaded and tested.

"It is incredible to see this historic building being given a new lease of life and we know how much enjoyment visitors will get from the centre when it opens.

"Work on the building will see its interior restored to create an accessible centre for passengers and visitors without compromising the operational function of the water tower itself."

The water tower, which dates back to 1883 and is Grade II listed, is thought to be the last functioning structure of its type in the UK. A 30,000-gallon tank on the roof of the building still provides water for the railway’s steam locomotives.

Work on the £100,000 visitor centre scheme is being supported by the Government-financed Keighley Towns Fund, and with £42,000 from the Railway Heritage Trust.

Visitors to the centre will be able to learn more about the history of the five-mile line and its engines.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, transport and planning, says: "This historic water tower is such an important structure and part of Keighley’s proud rail heritage.

"We are delighted that the building will have a new lease of life for the future whilst maintaining the crucial purpose for which it was built."

Liz Barker, acting chair of Keighley Towns Fund, says: "The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway is one of the leading educational, heritage and tourist attractions in the district.

"This is part of a list of projects considered and planned by the railway, which will see it modernise its offer so that it can continue to delight passengers and visitors for many years to come."