KEIGHLEY’s heritage railway is among attractions sharing in a multi-million pound bonanza from the growth in Yorkshire film-making.

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway this week said TV and movie filming provided vital revenue and publicity for the volunteer-run line.

Recent hits like Peaky Blinders and Swallows & Amazons are only the latest in a long tradition that began with The Railway Children in the 1970s.

Railway chairman Matt Stroh spoke this week as it was revealed screen projects had brought £120 million a year into Yorkshire and created 1,000 extra jobs due to their effect on Yorkshire tourism alone Millions of pounds had also poured into creative industries across the county.

Mr Stroh said: “It costs us hundreds of thousands of pounds per year to keep the wheels turning, so an income stream like this is vital to our continued success.”

The Brontë Parsonage Museum has also benefited from a dramatic surge in visitor numbers due to the sisters’ latest appearance on screen, in TV drama To Walk Invisible.

Screen Yorkshire has carried out research into Yorkshire and Humber’s film and TV industries and discovered its growth outstripped that of every other part of the UK, including London and the South East.

The figures show that between 2009 and 2015, Yorkshire’s film and TV industries generated an annual turnover of £424 million across 590 creative businesses, an increase of 247 per cent against the UK average of 118 per cent.

One of the most significant drivers of this growth is Screen Yorkshire’s Yorkshire Content Fund (YCF), which has been backed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and which has secured over £157 million of new business to the region through its investment activities.

These investments include some of the UK’s top grossing independent movies, such as Swallows & Amazons and Testament of Youth, which both use Keighley locations, and hit TV dramas like Peaky Blinders which was filmed both on the railway and at Dalton Mills.

Mr Stroh said the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway was put on the map in its early days thanks to the iconic 1970s movie The Railway Children.

He said: “We still have visitors today who want to see where the filming took place, and it’s great that Oakworth station has barely changed since then, thanks to our careful preservation.

“Filming is also still an important source of publicity and often revenue, as the recently released Screen Yorkshire figures demonstrate.

“We offer such a range of locations, from a rural, seemingly-sleepy, station at Oxenhope and the bustling location of Keighley, as well as offering a range of historical periods, that we often receive filming requests.

“As a result, we have recently starred in Swallows and Amazons, Peaky Blinders and a shampoo commercial!”

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire, said it was great to see the film and TV industry in Yorkshire leading the way and the fantastic impact this was having on tourism.

He said: “The wonderful diversity of urban, rural and coastal locations makes the county a perfect place to film. Combine this with Yorkshire’s accessibility and talent pools and it’s no wonder word is spreading fast about how great a place it is for the creative industries.

“It’s no surprise that after seeing Yorkshire on the big or small screen people then want to experience its beauty and drama first hand.”