Churnet Valley Railway - extension towards Leek town from Leekbrook

Cowley

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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.
 
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Ash Bridge

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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.
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.
 

Ash Bridge

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

Baxenden Bank

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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.
 

Cowley

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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.
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.
 

Baxenden Bank

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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:
Work to return railway line to Leek may start next month

The first stretch of track on the £810,000 project to build a railway line connecting Leek to the Churnet Valley Railway could be laid in April

Long-awaited work to return the railway to Leek could start next month - if funding is approved.

Construction of the first 200 metres (656 feet) of track for the new heritage railway link from Leekbrook towards Leek may begin as soon as April, according to a council document to be discussed next week.

The track would be the first stage in the plan to return a railway link to Leek, with the town getting a new railway station in the Cornhill area to allow trains to run to the existing Churnet Valley Railway.

This first stretch of track for the new rail link would cost around £40,000 - with Churnet Valley Railway providing £21,000 of funding for the work.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council's Moorlands Partnership Board is now set to consider whether to defer a £20,000 'in principle' allocation for work at Leek's Victoria Buildings until the 2019/20 financial year - and instead offer a £19,000 grant to the railway to make up the shortfall.

In a report to the board, council officers recommended members approve the plan at their meeting on Wednesday.

The report states: "There is an option to physically start on site and construct 200m of rail track from Leekbrook Station northwards.

"This land is within operational railway control and, subject to funding, can be delivered immediately.

"The advantage of undertaking these preliminary works are as follows: It sends a strong message to the wider community that works are commencing, it will encourage greater take-up/commitment to Share Issue (which will be used to match fund second stage works) [and] the majority of costs regarding more complex engineering will be north of this point

"The cost of the works would be £40,000 for materials plus volunteer labour. Churnet Valley Railway can fund £21,000 towards the cost of the works but would require an additional £19,000.

There are insufficient funds within the remaining MPB [Moorlands Partnership Board] budget to offer a grant. However, at the time of writing the report there have been no grant applications submitted from the various owners of the Victoria Buildings.

"The ‘in principle’ allocation of £20,000 against the Victoria Buildings could be reallocated from next year’s budget and the funds redirected to a project that will start imminently."

The entire Leek rail link project is expected to cost around £810,000 from Leekbrook to Leek - with the Moorlands Partnership Board previously offering a £22,000 grant towards fees and services for the heritage rail link in 2017/18.

Many people hope to eventually see Leek reconnected to Stoke-on-Trent and the main railway network.

In a separate report on the current status of projects the Moorlands Partnership Board have provided grants for, officers said construction of the entire route was set to take 18 months once all the funding had been found.

The report said: "To date, £28,626 has been spent on project development including planning permission, legal advice & fees associated with the cost of land transfer (the balance of funds coming from the regeneration revenue budget).

"The planning application has been approved, an expression of interest to co-fund the construction has been invited to full application (EAFRD – European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development).

"The signing of the Lease agreements is expected to take place by end of February 2019 (following approval by SMDC cabinet in December 2018).

"The full cost for construction of the line is circa £810,000. There is an 18-month construction period that would only commence once funding is confirmed. There is an option to physically start constructing 200 metres of track in April 2019."

The former railway track bed and former Leek Station, on the now Morrisons site, was opened by North Staffordshire Railway in 1849.

The Leek station and railway line to Stoke-on-Trent was in use until 1956 - with passenger services to continuing Uttoxeter until 1965.

The line was finally closed in the 1970s and the station and track were dismantled in 1973.

The land has since been used by walkers and cyclists and the proposed Leek terminus is approximately half a mile south of the historical station site.

The Churnet Valley Railway already has railway stations at Cheddleton, Leekbrook, Froghall and Consall - with also travels as far as the former Ipstones station on the Cauldon Lowe Branch Line.

The Moorlands Partnership Board will discuss the project at their meeting on Wednesday March 13.
 

Adlington

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To put it into context and perspective....The article quoted in post #37 says:
Construction of the first 200 metres (656 feet) of track for the new heritage railway link from Leekbrook towards Leek may begin as soon as Apri
 

lil Bear

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https://www.churnetvalleyrailway.co.uk/events/super-power-saturday.html
Join us for this groundbreaking event, all in aid of returning trains to Leek for the first time since 1970!

Witness the sight and sound of THREE USATC S160s operating together for the first time in the UK since 1944, and for only the second time within preservation globally!

Resident American Sisters nos. 5197and 6046 will be joined by no. 2253 Omaha, making a flying visit courtesy of Peter Best and Dartmouth Steam Railway.

There will be four non-stop return journeys...
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.

Indeed. Perhaps one of the reasons that station was not well used back in the day - plus the trains at the time ran to the wrong places!

My point is that the location of the proposed station (remote) will not lead to the influx of visitors from the railway into the town that the promoters / council expect. Nor will it act as an origin station for residents of / visitors to Leek. Tucked away at the back of nowhere. Gee where is this station supposed to be Elmer. In a similar vein the proposed new marina nearby will not bring people into the town (although if mooring overnight there will be greater likelihood). No, people will arrive by train, see that there is nothing immediately adjacent, and get back on the train. Even the route to Morrisons is not particularly apparent, having to skirt alongside the security fence of the chemical plant! There is no obvious and pleasant walking route from the terminus into town. If there were, people generally wouldn't walk that kind of distance anyway, so a shuttle bus will be required and I doubt either the council or the Churnet Valley Railway are going to pay for that.

Were the new town station eventually to be linked to the National Network, and a 'proper', frequent, scheduled service provided, the Barnfields location would still be wholly inappropriate. Far from the town centre, tucked away in an obscure location, unserved by other public transport and with minimal parking facilities able to be created.

It would be far better if the parties concerned concentrated on other aspects of the proposed MCR/CVR mini network - such as a 'parkway' station adjacent to one of the main roads already served by public transport and more visible. For example at Leekbrook!
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.

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.
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.
 
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Cowley

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

theblackwatch

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lil Bear

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Wasn't the line to Leek (and Stoke) going to be funded by Moorland & City Railways via the £1.65 million grant it was awarded in 2011? There were lots of grand plans at the time as details on the MCR website archive at https://web.archive.org/web/20111105045046/http://www.mcrailways.co.uk/news/5018/rgf.html - the website seems to have died now. Hopefully these latest developments will kick-start the project off again.
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.
 

theblackwatch

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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.
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!
 

lil Bear

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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!
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.
 

Edders23

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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
 

lil Bear

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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
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.
 

Baxenden Bank

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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?
 

E759

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I attended the 1940’s event this year and thought it was superb. The battle on the platform, allies vs axis-powers, was brilliant and the Home Guard characters pulled off impressive Dad’s Army humour of the first order. I came by public transport: I can’t see an extension to Leek helping those of us coming via public transport though; you just stay on the bus a bit longer? Thanks.
 

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