Churnet Valley Railway - extension towards Leek town from Leekbrook

Discussion in 'Railtours & Preservation' started by Baxenden Bank, 10 May 2018.

  1. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    A couple of questions for those in the know:
    Is there any other infrastructure between Leek Brook Junction and the junction with the WCML at Stoke? Or is it just one long single line with no sidings/points etc?
    Also what’s the arrangement with the WCML junction? Would there ever be a possibility of running next to the mainline and terminating near or next to Stoke station?
    Apologies if this is a stupid question, I just don’t know the area that well.
     
  2. Ash Bridge

    Ash Bridge Established Member

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    I can't confidently answer your question about the infrastructure Mr C, but I suspect your guess is probably correct. I think the original proposal by Moorland & City Railways was/is to operate a service to/from Stoke-on-Trent NR Station to a new station at Leek, not to mention reinstating rail freight traffic from the quarries etc.
     
  3. Ash Bridge

    Ash Bridge Established Member

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    Then again I'm not certain of the current status regarding M&CR, as there is no information on their website any longer.
     
  4. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Thanks for that. Must get up there and have a look around at some point.
     
  5. Baxenden Bank

    Baxenden Bank Established Member

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    I was looking at the various company accounts today.

    Churnet Valley Railway have bought the Leekbrook to Cauldon Lowe line from MCR (having previously bought the track to Ipstones).

    It is one long plain line from Stoke to Leekbrook, approx 10 miles.

    Looking at the latest sectional appendix that I have downloaded (Jun 2017). The Leekbrook line runs in from the East and runs parallel to the main line, inside of this is No 1 Viaduct siding, then the Up and Down main lines. Closer to Stoke the Leekbrook line connects to the siding, then to the Up line then to the down line. So access to/from the branch is possible from either Platform 1 or 2 at Stoke-on-Trent (both lines are bi-directional).

    In theory at least, a run-round loop could be created independent of the NR line using the branch line and the No 1 Viaduct Siding (which is not in use and was until recently a forest. Whether there is also space for a platform on the Manorfields Link side of the formation I don't know. If that were possible the walk from Stoke-on-Trent (Mainline) to Stoke-on-Trent (MCR) stations would not be that great - less than 5 minutes. Otherwise there is space at the back of the warehouses off City Road but the line is on a curve and curved platforms are frowned upon nowadays I understand.
     
  6. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Great info, thanks for that.
    I tried looking at maps last night and started to work it out, but unless you know an area properly it’s hard to picture it.
    I know that it’s a big jump to imagine the CVR ever running to Stoke, but hopefully they can get a future possible station site protected from development even if it does quite probably take at least a couple of decades to get there.
     
  7. Baxenden Bank

    Baxenden Bank Established Member

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    An article appeared in The Sentinel yesterday (7 March 2019) regarding a possible start on work to extend the line from Leekbrook towards Leek.
    https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/news/local-news/leek-heritage-railway-train-cornhill-2617076

    Entire article:
     
  8. Ash Bridge

    Ash Bridge Established Member

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    That's probably the most positive bit of news regarding the Churnet Valley in a good while, lets keep our fingers crossed, and many thanks for posting!
     
  9. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Excellent news!
     
  10. STEVIEBOY1

    STEVIEBOY1 Established Member

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    That would be really good if it does happen, fingers crossed.
     
  11. Adlington

    Adlington Member

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    To put it into context and perspective....The article quoted in post #37 says:
     
  12. Brush 4

    Brush 4 Member

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    Well, they wouldn't be laying the whole lot in one go. You have to start a journey with the first step.
     
  13. Ash Bridge

    Ash Bridge Established Member

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    Indeed, if this first stage was completed there would only be roughly another 800m to then reinstate to complete the line.
     
  14. 33117

    33117 Member

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    Leek if they can do it will be brilliant, a fairly busy town so a few punters.
     
  15. duffield

    duffield Member

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    it makes the railway much more accessable by public transport - frequent buses from Stoke stop right near the new station site as far as I can tell from google maps.
     
  16. lil Bear

    lil Bear Member

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    https://www.churnetvalleyrailway.co.uk/events/super-power-saturday.html
    The public's first chance to actively support the Leek extension has been announced, with Super Power Saturday.

    Starring 3x USATC S160's, the event will feature guest locomotive no. 2253 Omaha which is stopping off in Staffordshire during its transfer from commissioning on the NYMR to her long term base at Paignton.

    Working alongside 2253 will be CVR residents nos. 5197 and 6046.

    The final trip will see a triple header of American Muscle hauling the day's 8x coach service set and 2x Cromptons (equivalent weight of 13x coaches). This will be the first time such a sight has been possible in the UK, and the first occasion it has happened globally since 1963 during a Fort Eustis Military Railroad convention.

    Sponsorship has been received covering the locomotive's hire and transport fees - meaning all monies raised on the day will go towards the Leek Appeal and the extension of the current CVR from Leekbrook into Leek itself.

    And yet it's worked for Broadway, that involves a good 15-minute walk into Broadway itself from the GWSR station. Plus you've not checked the whole plans, as the additional planning application for the redevelopment of the brownfield land includes upgrading of Sunnyhills Rd and Barnfield Rd. Why? Because this upgrade will then enable the regular bus services to divert off the A53, and connect with a bus stop for both the new Marina and Railway Station. There will be a new car park on the Cornhill estate primarily for the railway, which is easily locatable from the main route - the A53 (and also included in the Barnfields redevelopment). Whilst Froghall has a decent car park, with plenty of overspill too, the A52 is not exactly a main route, and trying to get a bus to CVR is hard, especially on a Sunday & Bank Holiday!

    The cattle market idea was a council led idea, however they hadn't taken into the consideration of the differences in land height and that the CVR is not a cliff railway. Once this realisation sunk in, and the associated costs for the earthworks were shown the idea was soon deemed as inappropriate.

    Your Parkway suggestion is interesting. There are ideas but the biggest question is who would use it? At this precise moment the answer would be - no-one rally. CVR for all its good goes from Nowhere to Absolute-Nowhere. Leek though is somewhere, a destination and a start point for people to arrive at. The biggest market town in the area, with the biggest connections of local services. Re-opening the railway line should be just the start of extensions to Oakamoor/Moneystone, Waterhouses and you never know maybe even Stoke & Alton Towers - when a Parkway station would come into it's own. There's a long term plan that is finally starting to come to fruition for the line, all which is starting with the excitement of Super Power Saturday.

    One long single line from Stoke to Cauldon. The signalling system is still in place officially at Stoke PSB with the line designated as a Strategic Freight Line, however I suspect they'd need more than the stated 72 hours to bring it back into use... Trains could return with the right investment, but for passenger services either a run-round loop and canti-levered platform will be needed over the Viaduct sidings or trains would need permission to run into Stoke current and then onto the sidings North of the station to run-round. Take your pick which is your preferred method... And that's if trains were to terminate at Stoke, if they were heading for Crewe or Manchester there be no such need.

    CVR will re-instate the loop at Leekbrook at some point, beyond that though depends on what Network Rail agree to. However CVR is prioritising itself with Leek, before moving onto re-opening to Moneystone to connect with the proposed holiday park on the former sand quarry. After that Cauldon should get re-opened with talks progressing over Alton Towers and Waterhouses extensions too.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 1 Oct 2019
  17. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Thanks for filling in some of the detail there, and welcome to the forum too.
     
  18. lil Bear

    lil Bear Member

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    No problem.

    A work in progress, but this has just gone live. Expect developments over the coming weeks (once I've written them...)
    www.reconnectleek.co.uk
     
  19. theblackwatch

    theblackwatch Emeritus Moderator

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  20. lil Bear

    lil Bear Member

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    MCR's grant was focussed more towards the re-instatement to Stoke. However whilst being allocated the funds, they never actually received these funds. They set about with Reconnect Leek off their own back, with the original plan being to use land inside LBJ triangle for housing and to then use the proceeds to fund the extension into Leek. The Council rejected this, and MCR withdrew their support for Leek. They still exist in the background, but all the current efforts are solely CVR led.

    CVR have picked up the proverbial Leek baton, and in collaboration with Staffs Moorlands District Council are now jointly working together to return the line to Leek - Sybil is nearing the end of her political career, and what a legacy to leave behind when you are the Councillor who brought the trains back to Leek...

    Once Leek is in place (expected Autumn 2021) it is hoped to enhance facilities in Leek (Autumn 2024) and then Oakamoor will be re-opened to connect in with Moneystone leisure complex, followed not far behind by Cauldon Quarry. How quick all this happens depends solely upon the rate at which funds can be raised., but there are also plans for Waterhouses and Alton Towers on CVR's To-Do-List. Stoke we are not concerning ourselves with currently, as we need outside support to make that happen but we've also got enough on our plate as it is.
     
  21. theblackwatch

    theblackwatch Emeritus Moderator

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    Many thanks for the update. I would assume Oakamoor will be a much easier job than Leek as trains ran to there a few years ago (I did it on the Steam Railmotor) although I think the track was lifted soon after for use in Leek? Hopefully the trackbed hasn't been allowed to become overgrown!
     
  22. STEVIEBOY1

    STEVIEBOY1 Established Member

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    This is all looking very positive, I do hope it all goes well.
     
  23. lil Bear

    lil Bear Member

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    In theory yes as we own the trackbed. But with nothing there to go for currently, better to concentrate our efforts on Leek with it bing the biggest market town of the Moorlands. We do an annual inspection, and whilst the trackbed is clear trees / undergrowth have built up along the perimeter and embankments.
     
  24. Edders23

    Edders23 Member

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    A few years ago I came across some videos on you tube of a walk down the route back to Stoke and if i remember correctly at one point the line had collapsed into a river so as much as the railway has ambitions to reach stoke I think this move nearer to leek is probably a more attainable goal and a better site is probably just not available at least it will give them a station to run to at that end of the line
     
  25. lil Bear

    lil Bear Member

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    That video is still online if you search. However that section of line is still under the control of Network Rail, no formal lease was signed for it. There is indeed a landslip near Abbey Hulton, that will require the embankment being fully rebuilt before any trains come. The other big engineering projects will be the replacement of a rail over bridge in Abbey Hulton that has suffered several bridge strikes, and then there is a drainage issue at Stockton Brook which has a rather unpleasant bubble in selected weather conditions. All of this is beyond the economics of CVR, and will need outside help. Until this happens, CVR will be concentrating on Leek / Moneystone / Cauldon, with long term looking at Alton Towers and Waterhouses whilst also consolidating what we already have.
     
  26. Baxenden Bank

    Baxenden Bank Established Member

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    Does the recently completed phase extend as far as the Severn Trent access road or beyond it through the pallisade fence?
     

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