Bob Cryer once said that Bradford had a better train service to London in 1911, when Bradford City won the FA Cup, than it did in the early 1990s.

The left-wing Labour MP for Keighley, Euro MP for Sheffield and latterly MP for Bradford South knew a good deal about trains, vintage cars, motion pictures, politics and cricket. He also campaigned for the restoration and preservation of the Settle-Carlisle railway.

Usually he travelled by train between the House of Commons and his home in Shipley. But on Tuesday, April 12, 1994, he travelled instead on the M1 in his new Rover car, had an accident and died at the age of 59.

Nearly two weeks later his life was commemorated at a public event at St George’s Hall which was attended by more than 1,000 people. The 14 speakers included miners’ leader Arthur Scargill and seven Labour MPs including Tony Benn, Dennis Skinner, Max Madden, Alice Mahon and Bernie Grant.

It was probably the most formidable single gathering of socialists in Bradford since the 1983 General Election rally at St George’s one hot Saturday night in May of that year.

On that occasion Bob Cryer shared a platform with Labour Party leader Michael Foot, Arthur Scargill and Labour MPs Tom Torney and Pat Wall.

At the commemoration service Bob Cryer made his last entrance to public life and exit from it to the accompaniment of Handel’s Firework Music. Fireworks for a firebrand who earned the respect of political opponents.

Conservative Prime Minister John Major sent a message of condolence and appreciation.

Tony Benn noted there was never a trace of personal bitterness or malice in his dealings with opponents. Alice Mahon, Labour MP for Halifax at the time, recalled Bob Cryer’s “lovely sense of humour”.

T&A journalist Alan Whitaker gave an example of that. One day of foul weather when the two of them were due to walk the length of a disused railway tunnel, Mr Cryer exclaimed: “Hang this, we’ll take the car.” They drove through the tunnel in style in the MP’s Armstrong Siddeley.

At the end of the working week, home from the House of Commons, he liked nothing better than a meal of home-cooked fish and chips with his wife Ann, followed by a film or two from his collection of great movies.

Ann Cryer, of course, later became Labour MP for Keighley and fought fearlessly to make forced marriages a criminal offence.

In May 1970 the 80-strong cast and crew of the movie The Railway Children arrived in Yorkshire. Filming was scheduled to start at Oakworth station. Watching proceedings was Bob Cryer, chairman and founder member of the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway Preservation Society.

Having advised on the making of the 1968 television version of E Nesbit’s novel, Bob Cryer was asked by director Lionel Jeffries to scout locations and help with the film. Combining his love of Yorkshire, film and railways, with his family actively on hand, must have been one of the high points of his life.