Work has started to turn an historic water tower on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway (KWVR) into a contemporary visitor centre.
Scaffolding has now been built around the tower on platform four at Keighley Station as part of the £100,000 project funded by the Government-funded Keighley Towns Fund, with £42,000 additional funding from The Railway Heritage Trust.
A 30,000-gallon water tank sits on the roof of the historic industrial building, which still provides the water for the railway’s steam locomotives.
The development of the building will see its interior restored to create an accessible visitor centre providing information about the engines and the history of the line, without compromising the operational function of the water tower itself.
Bradford Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Transport and Planning Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw said: “This historic water tower is believed to be the last functioning one of its kind left nationally. It is a really important structure, and we are delighted it will have a new lease of life for the future while maintaining the crucial purpose for which it was built.”
Chairman of the Keighley Towns Fund Ian Hayfield said: “The KWVR is one of the leading educational, heritage and tourist attractions across the district. This project is part of a whole list of projects considered and planned by the KWVR which will see it modernise and transform its offer, so it can continue to delight passengers and visitors for many years to come.”
Remedial work has recently started on the tower, with vegetation being cleared and an access pathway being built at the back of the building. Minor repairs are currently being carried out on the tank and to fix the level indicator whilst fitting a new float valve. Work has also started on the interior, with the walls being fully cleaned, ready for a full white-wash repaint. Work on the new raised floor will start soon.