Work to repair and refurbish Keighley railway station will begin in September and last until the end of 2024.
Network Rail first announced work to repair the 130-year-old station in 2019, and had more recently said £9m of funding for the work was ringfenced.
A planning application for the work, which includes a refurbishment to the bridge over the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway line, work to strengthen the footbridges over the lines and a full repair and refurbishment of the main station buildings, has been approved by Bradford Council this week.
And more details of the timescale of the works, and artist’s impressions of the planned works, have now been revealed.
Approving the work to the Grade II listed station, planning officers said: “The proposed works will help to repair the station and keep it in good working condition and the benefits of this ongoing maintenance to the railway will offset any slight alterations to its appearance.”
The station is used as both a mainline station and by the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, a heritage rail line that allows passengers to ride steam trains.
The work is expected to begin during September and last until December 2024. During this period parking at Keighley Station will be limited as the car park will be used for equipment and material storage.
The group that runs the heritage line has revealed details of the move – and that the work will mean trains on that line will not stop at Keighley for two months next year.
A statement from the charity said: “The Worth Valley side of Keighley Station will be closed from Tuesday, January 2 until Friday, March 1 2024; during this time there will be no passenger services into platforms 3 and 4, and the station will be closed to the public.
“We will be running steam and diesel trains over the remainder of the railway during this time, and currently planning a bus connection between Ingrow and Keighley.
“During the Network Rail works, the KWVR will be working on other aspects of Keighley Station, undertaking some much-needed maintenance and progressing several projects.
“The ramp access from the footbridge to Platform 4 will be completely renewed, the old Shipley Junction Signal Box will be refurbished structurally and cosmetically, and the Water Tower project will begin.”
A plan to convert a listed water tower at the station into a visitor centre was approved last year.”
Calls for Network Rail to invest in much-needed improvements at Keighley Station stretch back several years.
Local rail user groups and the town’s then Labour MP John Grogan supported a long campaign which culminated in Network Rail’s announcement in October 2019 that it would deliver the necessary station upgrade.
Since then current MP Robbie Moore has pushed Network Rail to deliver the scheme.
A council spokesman said: “Delays in the years since that 2019 announcement have proved frustrating for passengers and campaigners, so local leaders are calling for this latest milestone to signal the beginning of rapid activity to get the improvements put in place for passengers as quickly as possible.”
Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning & Transport, said: “Keighley Station is a vital transport hub for local commuters and leisure travellers and for the wider region.
“We’ve said all along that Keighley Station as such a historic and well-used station needs this significant investment in order to be an attractive gateway for the town. The plans for the station look fantastic but it’s been incredibly frustrating with the time it’s taken, so this latest step forward is very welcome progress.
“I hope Network Rail and their industry partners will now be able to get the work started as quickly as possible to improve the station for our residents in Keighley and the thousands of visitors to our district who use it.”
Robbie Moore MP said: "After years of lobbying, numerous meetings with Network Rail and Northern and my repeated calls in Parliament for those involved in this project to be held accountable on its timely delivery, I am thrilled to see that plans for the refurbishment of Keighley Station have received the green light.
"Keighley Station holds immense historical and cultural significance for our town and serves as a vital transport hub for our community. It is therefore fantastic to see the station finally getting the upgrades it deserves, which will no doubt secure our station long into the future.
"Delays have hindered this project for far too long, and I will continue to closely monitor the progress of this project so that we can ensure these vital refurbishments are started by the September deadline.”