Churnet Valley Railway begin to reconnect Leek

5197 at Froghall Station // Credit: Jamie Duggan
5197 at Froghall Station // Credit: Jamie Duggan

The Churnet Valley Railway has announced that the first stage of their ‘Reconnect Leek’ project will be completed next Friday, 11 October.

The £1,000,000 project has been under proposal for well over 10 years and has faced various challenges before it was able to get underway. Thanks to the hard work of CVR staff and the council, the first 200 metres of track are due to be completely laid next week.

This marks the beginning of the 1km line from Leek Brook to Leek.

The first stretch of track is estimated to cost £40,000, with the Churnet Valley funding £21,000 and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council making up the remaining £19,000.

The work will be undertaken by a 30-strong team of volunteers from The Permanent Way Institution.

The first stretch of the ‘Reconnect Leek’ line will be operational on Friday 11 October for the official opening by Sybil Ralphs.

The ‘Super Power Saturday’ is being run solely in aid of returning trains to Leek, with all ticket sales and donations on the day going to the ‘Reconnect Leek’ fund. The Super Power Saturday is being held on Saturday 26th October with special guest 2253 Omaha, the locomotive appears courtesy of Peter Best and Dartmouth Steam Railway and will join fellow S160s 5197 and 6026 at the gala.

The team at Churnet Valley Railway hope to have the line to Leek completed within 24-months

What did the officials say?

Brian Counter, Technical Director at PWI said:

“we are delighted to be holding our third Practical Trackwork Challenge at Leek Brook. This unique 2-day event is an opportunity for young rail professionals to gather first-hand experience of a track renewal process in a safe, controlled environment. It’s a fantastic chance for them to learn with confidence on the ground”. 

Director Greg Wilson saying of the project:

we have just submitted our full application to EADRF for grant funding and we hope to have a positive response by Christmas. At that point, we aim to secure additional funding to bridge the gap, with work on the line intended to continue shortly after. We want to have the full length of track laid within 2 years.”

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  • Great news! – but please could the cattle market be moved to Barnfields making way for a rail terminus so much more accessible than the currently planned site and allowing for a tourist attraction display area that would be an added bonus.