IS there anything more lovely than a leisurely journey on a steam train?

There is something irresistibly romantic about a mighty steam locomotive hissing and chugging through the countryside and pulling into pretty little stations.

The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway is back on track after re-opening last week. The popular heritage line is offering steam-hauled return journeys from Oxenhope and Keighley and vintage trains on Sundays.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The heritage railway passes through historic stations

The KWVR, West Yorkshire’s only complete standard gauge preserved railway, is operated by a team of over 700 volunteers.

This year has been a challenging one for the railway. Along with floods, and a large bridge to replace, it was forced to close in March due to the coronavirus crisis. During lockdown the railway ran a ‘Worth Saving’ fundraising campaign, well supported by public donations, and received £50,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and £60,000 from the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway Trust for the appeal.

The railway team has worked hard to re-open it in line with Government safety guidance, with processes in place to maintain cleanliness and safety, and has been awarded the We’re Good to Go industry charter mark as a result. The phased re-opening offers pre-booked return journeys in private compartments, and on Sundays a chance to travel in vintage and First Class stock rarely used on the railway, in coaches not in use anywhere else in the region.

Matt Stroh, chairman of the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway Preservation Society, says: “Re-opening the railway after the disappointment of closure has been fantastic. It’s a testimony to the great team effort needed to prepare the railway for operation in very trying circumstances, particularly with the challenge of having to recommence the work to replace a 115-year-old bridge. We looking forward to welcoming more passengers onboard and bringing steam back to the Worth Valley.”

Next month there’s a chance to board the KWVR’s two 1930 Pullman parlour cars, from a time when train travel meant dining in style. Diners for Continental Breakfast or Afternoon Tea will be seated in one of the beautifully restored Pullman carriages, Ann and Mary, for two round trips, served by Pullman liveried staff.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Fine dining in one of the KWVR's vintage carriages

The Pullman dining experience takes place on September 12 and 19. For brunch, which includes Continental breakfast, the train departs Oxenhope at 10am and guests are invited to arrive at 9.15am for coffee or tea. Brunch is served on the train from 10am to 12.45pm and the journey covers two round trips to Keighley Station and back to Oxenhope. For afternoon tea the train departs Oxenhope at 1.30pm, with guests invited from 12.45pm. The itinerary follows the morning brunch train. Masks should be worn to board but once seated they can be removed. Passengers will be seated in bays of four, not shared with people from other bookings.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The railway is running a luxury dining experience aboard its two 1930 Pullman parlour cars

The KWVR famously had a starring role in The Railway Children and, with 2020 being the 50th anniversary of the much-loved film, a celebration was planned for this weekend, but pandemic restrictions meant it had to be cancelled. Passengers can however re-live scenes along the line, steaming into Oakworth station, where Perks the porter would greet arrivals with a cheery whistle.

You can get off the train and explore two Railway Children Walks. One is a circular two-and-a-half mile tour from Haworth station, taking in several locations in the film. Mytholmes Railway tunnel was where Jim the schoolboy injured his leg in a paper chase, and the embankment on the left is where the landslide was filmed. The railway line in front was where the children waved red flannel petticoats to warn the 11.29 driver. Oakworth Station Cottage, home of the Perks family, is the first house after the crossing and the spot where the cast waved at the end of the film and Roberta wrote ‘The End’.

The other walk miles is six miles, starting from Haworth station, along the valley to Oxenhope, looping round, down Haworth High Street, round the route of the short walk and back to the station. It takes in additional locations - Three Chimneys, the home of the railway children; Bronte Parsonage Museum, the doctor’s house; and shops along Main Street, where the children collected presents for Perks’ birthday.

* The Back in Steam services run until August 31; September 2-3 and 5-6. Tickets must be pre-booked at or (01535) 645214.

* Back in Steam is part of Sparkling Bradford, delivered by VisitBradford, The Broadway Bradford, Bradford Business Improvement District (BID) and Bradford Council to boost the district’s visitor economy by showcasing what’s on offer. Launched for 2020, the initiative supports local trade and the visitor economy as the district emerges from lockdown.

* Visit or follow #SparklingBradford on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.