Steam railway CLOSED after flood damage

Churnet Valley Railway Consall (2) 26 October 2019
Credit: Dave Gibson

The Churnet Valley Railway has announced that they have closed their railway temporarily and have stopped its regular timetable schedule until the end of November 2019.

The closure will last until Saturday 30th November 2019 whilst work is completed to repair the railway after it was damaged by this weekend’s torrential rain.

A breach of the Caldon Canal close to bridge number 39 south of Consall station caused flooding to areas of the railway track on Saturday 26th October.

Churnet Valley Railway Consall
Credit: CVR

The railway’s planned Super Power Saturday event was immediately cancelled. The Met Office informed on Saturday 26th at 16:00hrs that the rain gauge at Thorncliffe, approximately eight miles from Consall, reported 61.4mm of rain had fallen in the last 30 hours. The average monthly rainfall for Staffordshire is 82mm.

Operations Director Gregory Wilson, along with key personnel and volunteers at Churnet Valley Railway were on site from the early hours on the day of the event firing up three S160 steam locomotives.

The railway was ready to make news for other reasons that day – to celebrate the historic event as the loco’s triple-headed for the first time since the 1940s. At approximately 08:30 hours, the canal had breached.

Churnet Valley Railway Consall
Credit: Dave Gibson

Saturday’s event, the first of a range of fundraisers to help the Reconnect Leek project, was confirmed as a washout.

This morning, railway officials met with all parties to discuss how best to tackle the problems. The breach has affected approximately 100 feet of railway line, which in some places has been left suspended in mid-air.

The proposed repairs will not only reinstate the railway but will also strengthen and improve the drainage. The railway, supported by its charity The North Staffordshire Railway Company (1978) Ltd, is looking for help to cover the cost of the repairs.

Churnet Valley flooding
Credit: CVR
Churnet Valley flooding
Credit: CVR
Churnet Valley
Credit: CVR

The amount needed has not been confirmed by the railway, however, anyone wishing to make a donation can do so by clicking here: https://www.churnetvalleyrailway.co.uk/donations

Repairs are due to be underway in the next week and it is estimated the work will be completed in approximately seven days.

The railway will reopen for service on Friday 30th November, the start of it’s annual Santa and Steam event.

What did the officials say?

Gregory Wilson said,

our priority primarily was with people’s safety and assessing what damage has been caused. Early assessment indicates repairs will take approximately a week. This of course, is great news following what’s happened as we can confirm there will be no disruption to our Santa and Steam event

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