Direct line to past

A PIECE of Spen's transport heritage is living on – 40 years after the Beeching cuts axed railway services in the valley.

June 12 marks the 40th anniversary of the closure of Cleckheaton Central, Liversedge Central and Heckmondwike railway stations, leaving the Spen Valley devoid of any passenger railway services.

Stations on the valley’s second line at Heckmondwike, Liversedge, Gomersal and Cleckheaton had closed 12 years earlier.

However, a piece of the area’s rail history lives on, with one of the original station signs from Cleckheaton Central now on display at the award-winning Museum of Rail Travel, at Ingrow near Keighley.

At the time of the closures in 1965 Dennis Cross was station master at both Cleckheaton and Liversedge which employed 13 men. There were 11 men at Heckmondwike including station master Dennis Bunce.

The last official passenger train on the life left Bradford at 11.10am on June 12 arriving at Cleckheaton 11 minutes later.

Among the last passengers were workers at BBA Limited returning from a works trip.

The line had a temporary revival later that month with works trips leaving for Beeston, Nottingham and Southport.

Its most unusual claim to fame came a few years later, when Cleckheaton station was stolen overnight.

In 1971 tenders were submitted for the demolition of the station, and while the tenders were out it simply disappeared.

In December 1971 a man was committed for trial accused of stealing stone, timber, metal, railway track, chairs and even the buffer stops!

q The Museum of Rail Travel is owned by the Vintage Carriages Trust which has provided vintage railway carriages for over 50 cinema and television productions. The museum shop also provided the memorabilia which adorns Roy Cropper’s Roy’s Rolls cafe in Coronation Street.

The museum is on the main A 629 Keighley to Halifax Road at Ingrow, and is open daily except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Further details are available at www.vintagecarriagestrust. org.

The museum’s latest filming credit – filmed last month – is Yorkshire Television’s Booze Cruise III with Mark Benton, Brian Murphy and Neil Pearson.

Other credits include North and South with Daniella Denby Ashe and Richard Armitage; The Forsyte Saga with Emma Griffiths Malin and Lee Williams, and Sons and Lovers starring Sarah Lancashire.