The line from Bradford to Thornton via Queensbury
was opened as a joint venture between the Lancashire & Yorkshire
Railway and the Great Northern Railway between 1876 and 1878.
The line was extended to Keighley in 1884. Once out of Bradford,
the line was mostly rural and necessitated the construction
of many earthworks, viaducts and tunnels. Its hilly nature earned
it the nicknames of 'the Alpine route' or 'the switchback' from
its loyal drivers.
Cullingworth station was situated quite close to the village
centre, and as a result was well used, particularly for trains
to Keighley. The station was approached by a wide access road
and the goods facilities were used a great deal by local industries.
After closure to passengers, the lines near Cullingworth were
used for track and locomotive testing and DMU crew training.
The appearance of DMUs on the line in 1956 prompted speculation
that passenger services would resume, but the British Railways
Board were adamant that closure had been justified. Several
new diesel locomotives appeared on the line around this time,
being used for exhaust fume experiments in comparison with steam
locomotives in aid of cancer research. Derailing experiments
were also carried out to measure the effect on new concrete
sleepers specifically laid for this purpose. The track was lifted
soon after closure in 1963.
In May 2005 a section of the railway was brought back to life
as the Great
Northern Trail. The first section of the new trail runs
from Cullingworth to Harecroft Eventually the new trail will
cover a distance of 10 kilometres between Queensbury and Cullingworth
but it will be five years before it is completed.
The new trail is availbale for walkers, cyclists and horse
riders and is also suitable for wheelchairs. The section of
the trail already open includes two viaducts including the listed
Viaduct near Cullingworth
To see the other
stations on the Halifax - Bradford - Keighley lines click on
the station name: Halifax
St. Pauls, Pellon,
Road, St. Dunstan's,
Adolphus Street, Thornton,
& Ingrow East