The Churnet Valley Railway has announced that it has secured more than £1.4m towards the Reconnect Leek project.
The European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development (EARDF) has awarded £1,427,906.83 to the railway for the Reconnect Leek project.
The funding will cover 80% of the cost of completing nearly 1 mile of the railway line to a new station near Barnfields Road.
The funding will also reconnect the former railway triangle at Leekbrook Junction to create the first original triangle.
The extension to Leek is just part of more proposals to extend the line, which will eventually allow passengers to board a train at Oakamoor, with a new holiday village.
The announcement comes as the Churnet Valley Railway gears up for the new 2020 season. However, the current Covid-19 status means trains are suspended until the 8th of May 2020.
What did the officials say?
Anthony Hancock, Chairman of the not-for-profit heritage railway, said:
“Re-instating the line to Leek has been the ambition of so many people for many years – and thanks to support from Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and its Leader, the dedicated effort from CVR volunteers and this fantastic funding award, this ambition is going to be fully realised. It really is full steam ahead now!”
Councillor Sybil Ralphs, Leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, said:
“This is fantastic news and, as a long-time supporter and champion of the railway, I am absolutely delighted.
“Over the last two years we’ve helped CVR secure funding for projects including Leekbrook Station and some enabling works as well as helping CVR to win this big prize. It is wonderful that one of the final awards from EU funding is coming to our area!
“This is a real vote of confidence in the potential of the visitor economy – and an acknowledgement that attractions such as this heritage railway can both encourage tourists to come to the Moorlands and then to stay longer when they’re here.”
Anthony Hancock continued:
“Although we have secured this fantastic amount, we also need to raise the final 20% ourselves so we hope to welcome as many visitors as possible in 2020 to help raise funds.”
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