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The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway near Oxenhope, Yorkshire
Photograph: northallertonman /

This Yorkshire heritage railway will soon become a commuter route

It’s just been awarded a whopping £20 million in levelling up funding

Amy Houghton
Written by
Amy Houghton

Keighley in Bradford, Yorkshire was among over 50 towns and cities across the UK that won funding from the government in the third round of its levelling-up scheme. Now it plans to use that cash to regenerate its historic Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and transform it into a major commuter route. 

The five-mile heritage railway line opened in 1867. Travelling through landscapes made famous by the Bronte sisters, it has featured in dozens of films and TV shows, including both the 1970 and 2022 adaptations of ‘The Railway Children’. 

With almost £20 million in funding to spend over the next ten years, Bradford Council plans for the heritage railway to become a ‘major transport hub and commuter route’. Signalling along the line, which links with national rail services at Keighley, will be upgraded to allow more trains to run and its fleet of diesel locomotives will be revamped. 

The council is also using the funding to create a robotics and engineering research institute in Keighley town centre. 

Bradford council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: ‘The town has a proud engineering and manufacturing tradition. This is such an exciting project which will enhance Keighley’s engineering, manufacturing and economic role in the region, putting it at the forefront of UK innovation.’

Keighly is just one of 55 ‘overlooked’ UK towns getting a glow-up thanks to levelling up funding. You can see the full list here

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