‘Instant' Extension Launches Churnet Valley Push To Leek

Heritage Railway|Issue 260

‘Instant' Extension Launches Churnet Valley Push To Leek
AFTER years of planning and negotiations, the first 659ft of the Churnet Valley Railway’s (CVR) eagerly awaited £1 million extension into Leek has carried its first passengers.
Robin Jones And Fred Kerr

On Friday, October 11, USATC S160 2-8-0 No. 5197 hauled a special train carrying invited guests from Cheddleton station to Leek Brook and on to the £40,000 first section of the Leek extension – which had been laid in the 48 hours before.

The track was laid by 30-strong team from the Permanent Way Institution, as part of its two-day Practical Track work Challenge 2019, supported by CVR volunteers. This first section was funded by £21,000 from the railway and another £19,000 granted by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC). The last panels were laid only the day before.

Welcoming guests to the big occasion, CVR operating director Greg Wilson noted that the new work had been part of a long-term project that has taken 10 years to reach the current state of fruition due to various challenges that had arisen – including funding.

He said: “It’s been the ambition of the CVR for many years now to ‘Reconnect Leek’.We have faced many obstacles and today we are very proud to say that the first stretch of the line back to Leek is operational.

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Issue 260