Construction has commenced to transform a historic water tower located on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway (KWVR) into a contemporary visitor centre.

Scaffolding has been erected around the tower situated on platform four at Keighley Station, as part of the £100,000 initiative funded by the Government-backed Keighley Towns Fund, supplemented by an additional £42,000 from The Railway Heritage Trust.

Atop the venerable industrial edifice rests a 30,000-gallon water tank, which still serves as the water source for the railway’s steam locomotives. The refurbishment of the structure will involve the restoration of its interior to create an accessible visitor centre, offering information about the engines and the history of the railway line, all the while ensuring the continued functionality 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 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.”

Recent efforts have focused on the tower, involving the clearance of vegetation and the establishment of an access pathway at the rear of the building. Presently, minor repairs are underway on the tank, including the rectification of the level indicator and the installation of a new float valve. Work has also commenced on the interior, with the walls undergoing a thorough cleaning in preparation for a complete whitewash repaint. The construction of the new raised floor will commence shortly.

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