Keighley & Worth Valley commuter rail service idea is scrapped

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Coun John Huxley Coun John Huxley

Proposals to set up a commuter rail service on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway (K&WVR) have been shelved.

Following five years of debate, councillors on a committee who have been investigating the idea say they have accepted that there is not enough political will to make the project work.

Councillor John Huxley, chairman of the Worth Valley Joint Transport Committee, which includes councillors from Haworth, Oxenhope and Keighley parish and town councils, said: “We, in conjunction with management at K&WVR have conducted exhaustive enquiries into the viability of the introduction of a community rail service to the route.

“In 2009 we, together with Metro and Bradford Council, funded a study by the Arup Partnership. While that concluded that such services were operationally entirely possible they would need to be subsidised.

“Last January we met the Railway, the Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) and Bradford Council to discuss the situation and the results of a further study undertaken by Metro into the project.

“It was made quite clear to us by the ITA officers and Bradford Council that they would not recommend the level of subsidy the study concluded would be required to deliver the service.

“Given that we as local councils are not blessed with the kind of funds necessary to pursue the project on our own behalf, we’ve reluctantly concluded that, for the moment at least, there is no point in pursuing the project any further.

“We note that the Conservative Group of Bradford Council has decided that there is some political mileage in the project, and we look forward with interest to see if they can persuade the ITA there is a good case for a subsidy.”

Coun Huxley added that he and his council colleagues had worked productively with the K&WVR, and fully understood this organisation’s position of not being able to fund such a project on its own behalf. “We’ve taken the idea as far as we can, and without the necessary funding from regional or central government we’re not able to advance the concept any further,” he said.

Comments (2)

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3:36pm Wed 7 May 14

Apollo says...

5 years and how much money to work out something was never going to be viable?

If it had taken 5 days it would have been on the top side. Who are there fools?
5 years and how much money to work out something was never going to be viable? If it had taken 5 days it would have been on the top side. Who are there fools? Apollo
  • Score: -2

12:45pm Fri 9 May 14

RicPou says...

It is a shame that the economics of this could not have been worked out as Keighley & W.V. tried this many years ago, there were problems. It is now a mature railway, and it should now be possible to operate the service for two or three hours as 'One engine on Branch', traditionally 'One engine in steam', using either one of their diesel railbuses or their DMU.
There needs to be a serious Market Research survey to see how many people might realistically use it, 15 passengers to fill a railbus, 50 people to half fill a DMU, or an early steam turn on an operating day.
Remember, so far none of the Heritage / independent lines have successfully operated a viable commuter so far. Someone, somewhere needs to have a go at this and see if it could work.
It is a shame that the economics of this could not have been worked out as Keighley & W.V. tried this many years ago, there were problems. It is now a mature railway, and it should now be possible to operate the service for two or three hours as 'One engine on Branch', traditionally 'One engine in steam', using either one of their diesel railbuses or their DMU. There needs to be a serious Market Research survey to see how many people might realistically use it, 15 passengers to fill a railbus, 50 people to half fill a DMU, or an early steam turn on an operating day. Remember, so far none of the Heritage / independent lines have successfully operated a viable commuter so far. Someone, somewhere needs to have a go at this and see if it could work. RicPou
  • Score: -1

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