A multi-million-pound scheme to repair Keighley’s crumbling railway station could finally be moving ahead soon, years after it was first proposed.
Network Rail first announced the works in 2019, and had more recently said £9m of funding for the work was ringfenced.
After years of no movement, and criticism from local MP Robbie Moore over the lack of news, Network Rail assured Keighley residents earlier this year that it “remained committed” to the work.
Now a planning application for the full refurbishment of the Grade II listed Victorian station has been submitted to Bradford Council.
It says the long-delayed work will “allow the station to operate safely, without the risk of falling debris.”
Work will include repairs and a refurbishment to the bridge over the Keighley and Worth Valley rail line, work to strengthen the footbridges over the lines, including the replacement of rotten timbers, and a full repair and refurbishment of the main station buildings.
Built in the 1880s, the station, on Bradford Road, has two functions. It is the town’s commuter station on the Airedale Line, and also the terminus of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway – a heritage line that runs to Oxenhope that is one of the District’s most popular tourist attractions.
The plans say that after over 140 years of operation, parts of the station are showing their age.
On the bridge over the Keighley & Worth Valley Line, the application says: “There are some very poor areas, with evidence of significant corrosion.”
Work to repair this would extend the lifespan of the bridge by at least another 30 years.
After timber experts assessed the station buildings, they found that significant amounts of wood had suffered rot, and would need to be replaced.
The application says: “Care will be taken to ensure that historic fabric is only replaced where necessary, and where repairs are not feasible – for example, for replacement timbers where water ingress has caused significant areas of rot.
“Improvements to station roof drainage will prevent future instances of water ingress and reduce frequencies of intervention in the future.”
It says the use of replica Georgian glazing will “increase longevity and improve aesthetics at the station.
“The works are necessary to ensure the railway can operate safely, without the risk of falling debris from loose masonry, timber or glazing.
“In our opinion the proposals would enhance the historic appearance of the station by carrying out much needed refurbishment and maintenance work.”
A decision on the application is expected next month.
Keighley MP Robbie Moore said he was thrilled by the plans but would continue to monitor progress carefully. He 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 a planning application for the much-needed renovation of Keighley Station has finally been submitted.
"Keighley Station holds immense historical and cultural significance for our town and serves as a vital transportation hub for our community. It is therefore fantastic to see plans for the station to get the upgrade it so vitally needs, which will no doubt secure the station long into the future.
"I will continue to closely monitor the progress of this project so that we can ensure the timely completion of these vital refurbishments.”