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Churnet Valley Railway
CVR 1866.jpg
A steam-hauled train at Consall station
Commercial operations
Name British Rail
Built by North Staffordshire Railway
Original gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Preserved operations
Owned by
  • Churnet Valley Railway (1992) plc
  • Charitable trust: North Staffordshire Railway Company (1978) Ltd
Operated by Churnet Valley Railway (1992) plc
Stations 4
Length 10 12 miles (16.9 km)
Preserved gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Commercial history
Opened 13 June 1849
Closed to passengers 4 January 1965
Closed 30 August 1988
Preservation history
30 October 1992 Incorporation of "Goldenlaunch plc" (renamed "Churnet Valley Railway (1992) plc" 15 December 1992)
3 May 1996 CVR granted light railway order
4 July 1996 CVR buys Leek Brook - Oakamoor trackbed
24 August 1996 First service train runs from Cheddleton to Leek Brook
11 July 1998 Consall station re-opened
11 August 2001 Kingsley & Froghall station re-opened
13 August 2004 Consall signal box commissioned, allowing two-train operation
21 September 2008 Track to Oakamoor Sand Sidings re-open for limited use
12 November 2010 Cauldon Lowe branch re-opened
6 February 2014 Ipstones Loop re-opened

The Churnet Valley Railway is a preserved standard gauge heritage railway to the east of Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England, that operates along a part of the former North Staffordshire Railway's (NSR) Churnet Valley Line. Regular services travel between the two main stations at Cheddleton (the base of operations and motive power) and Kingsley and Froghall (the commercial and administrative base). There is an intermediate station at Consall. Some trains also head beyond Cheddleton to Leek Brook Junction (the limit of the Churnet Valley Railway's track) and on to Ipstones, but Ipstones station is not in use.

The railway is roughly 10 12 miles (16.9 km) long from Kingsley & Froghall station to Ipstones. The land from Leek Brook Junction to Ipstones was opened by Moorland & City Railways (MCR) in 2010 after they took a lease out from Network Rail. This has subsequently been purchased by the CVR.

Preservation history

Early days of preservation: Cheddleton station (1964–1977)

Cheddleton station: the Churnet Valley Railway's first acquisition in 1976.

The Cheshire and Staffordshire Railway Society (C&SRS) was formed in the 1970s by Ken Simpson and others to try to save something of the lines built by the old NSR, which first began to close in 1964. Their original target was the Biddulph Valley route which branched north from the Stoke-Leek line at Milton Junction, and headed north to Biddulph Wharf and Congleton, but Cheshire County Council showed only lukewarm interest. Leek station was also considered for a heritage line north to Rudyard Lake, but was demolished in 1973. The society then aimed to re-open the Oakamoor to Alton Towers section, using the former Oakamoor tunnel for stock storage.

The council intended to demolish the station at Cheddleton in April 1974, but local businessman and parish councillor Norman Hancock parked his car on the level crossing in front of the bulldozers, preventing the demolition. This delay allowed the building to be Grade II listed on 14 May 1974 after a campaign by the C&SRS, Sir John Betjeman and the Victorian Society. In 1976 the former station building was let to the C&SRS to use as a museum.

The C&SRS became the North Staffordshire Railway Society (NSRS), Cheddleton station became Cheddleton Railway Centre, and the Churnet Valley Railway in effect began. The plans for the Oakamoor to Alton Towers track were put on hold, the old siding and goods yard at Cheddleton were purchased, and workshops were created with the first locomotives arriving in 1977. British Rail (BR) was at the time still using the adjacent railway to move industrial sand from the quarry at Oakamoor. This all resulted in the unusual sight of a Fowler tender being delivered to the NSRS at the rear of a sand train, arriving from Bescot, being uncoupled and then left for the NSRS volunteers to crane over from the mainline into the NSRS yard before the sand train returned.

Developments to first running: track bed acquisition (1978–1996)

In 1978 the NSRS became the "North Staffordshire Railway Co. (1978) Ltd", which gained charity status in 1983. The bay platform area at Cheddleton was acquired in 1984 and the former NSR signal box from Clifton was put into use at the site, allowing demonstration runs to operate around the former goods yard. A commemorative plaque at the restored station acknowledges Norman Hancock and his role in ensuring the survival of the Jacobean-style building.

British Rail ceased using the remains of the former Churnet Valley Line in 1988, and the NSRC sought to purchase the stretch from Oakamoor to Leek Brook Junction. In 1992, the charity NSRC incorporated a subsidiary company: Churnet Valley Railway (1992) plc. In 1996, the company was granted a Light Railway Order to run 7 miles (11 km) between Leek Brook Junction to Oakamoor Sand Sidings. (This was the last such order before the implementation of a new legal framework in the Transport and Works Act.) The company was also responsible for applications for planning permission and other legal necessities. The first public share issue was launched in 1995, to fund the purchase of the land and track, following an agreement with the British Railways Board. Share Issue 1 was well supported, particularly by the local community, and raised over £120,000. The purchase was completed on 4 July 1996. The trading activities of the NSRC were subsequently transferred to the CVR following this initial success.

The track was then made ready for passenger trains, and on 24 August 1996 LMS Fowler Class 3F 47383 departed Cheddleton for Leek Brook Junction, a distance of roughly 1 mile (1.6 km).

New stations: Consall and Kingsley & Froghall (1998–2003)

Diesel train at Froghall - - 1731556
The main station building at Kingsley & Froghall was rebuilt in 2003. The other platform and shelter were re-built in 2007–2009.

Share issue 2 in 1998 aimed to raise £160,000 to upgrade the line south from Cheddleton to Consall for passenger services, which was successfully achieved on 11 July 1998.

Shortly after this, the next two-mile (3.2 km) section south to Kingsley & Froghall station was rehabilitated to provide an alternative to Cheddleton for visitors' car parking, and thus allow the business to expand. The third share issue was launched in the summer of 2000 in order to raise £185,000, and on 14 October 2000 "top and tailed" diesel-hauled passenger specials ran. Floods in November 2000 damaged at least three sections along the extension, but by 11 August 2001 the section of line was restored sufficiently to allow CVR's passenger regular operations to extend over the 5 14-mile (8.4 km) line to Kingsley & Froghall, and on 19 July 2003 Kingsley & Froghall's re-constructed station building was opened by Pete Waterman.

Upgrades and extension (2008–2011)

Leekbrook Junction signal box Geograph-2761389-by-Stephen-Craven
The signal box at Leekbrook Junction

This single platform at Kingsley & Froghall station was supplemented by the restoration of the second platform in 2008 using grant money. The wooden waiting shelter was re-built to the original 1849 design and incorporated the original brick foundations. A new foot crossing at the south of the platform (there never was a footbridge) replaced a previous foot crossing at the north end. The restoration project jointly won "The National Express East Coast Volunteers Award" at the National Railway Heritage Awards 2008.

In 2010, the 8 12 miles (13.7 km) of track from Leek Brook Junction to Cauldon Lowe were restored to passenger-carrying standards, allowing services to run by November. The signal box at Leek Brook Junction was restored externally, and the platform and surrounding area were cleared of vegetation. Planning permission for full restoration of the site was granted in November 2011.


Most CVR trains run between Kingsley and Froghall station in Froghall village (Kingsley is a further one mile [1.6 km] away) and Cheddleton via the intermediate station at Consall.

From Kingsley & Froghall the railway passes the historic Thomas Bolton Copperworks factory (some of which is derelict, with other parts still in use) and meanders through the forested valley, through Hazles Wood and Booth's Wood and on towards Consall. The station here is sandwiched between the Caldon Canal and the River Churnet.

There is a nature park nearby, and the Black Lion public house sits on a bank overlooking the railway, canal and river. This pub is unusual in that there are no public roads leading to it. Access is by foot, via the canal towpath, or the railway. Consall station has been signalled with a passing loop that allows two trains to run on special events and during high season.

Trains leaving Consall face a slight gradient as they begin the section towards Cheddleton. This section of railway is also heavily forested, but after 12 mile (0.80 km) or so the trees fall away to reveal open farmland and moorland.

Trains pass the motive power depot as they arrive at Cheddleton station, where locomotives under repair may be glimpsed in the yard. The Grade II listed Victorian station building at Cheddleton houses a small relics museum, toilets, ticket office and waiting room.

In July 2011 a new catering facility the Goods Shed Tearoom was opened on the platform, marking the location of the original goods shed that once stood nearby. Continuing from Cheddleton, trains run past a caravan park and through the 531-yard (486 m) tunnel (the fifth-longest tunnel on a UK heritage railway within preservation), emerging at Leekbrook Junction.

This was a four-way junction serving railways from Stoke, Leek, Alton and the quarries at Cauldon. The former platform for the old St Edwards Hospital tramway has been restored, as has the sole surviving NSR signal box. Normally CVR services terminate here, but on selected dates trains continue onto the steeply graded Cauldon Lowe Line for the 4 12 miles (7.2 km) to Ipstones.

The CVR also owns the trackbed between Kingsley & Froghall and Oakamoor. The railway is in situ as far as the Oakamoor sand sidings, which once served the now disused quarry, but the track is not up to standard for carrying passengers. In order to reach Oakamoor railway station the main line across the River Churnet and through Oakamoor tunnel needs to be rebuilt, which is one of the medium-term objectives of MCR as part of their plan to reopen the line to Alton (for Alton Towers).


Churnet Valley Railway at Consall Forge, Staffordshire - - 604511
Signal and track at Consall Forge

Signal boxes

Each station (or station site) served by passengers has a signal box, although only one is fully operational:

Leek-Alton Towers section

  • Leek Brook: Only original box standing on the line. Externally restored as part of the Lottery funded "Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership" in 2014. Internally all but the lever frame itself has been removed. Plans are in motion to see the box restored for operational use, that will include provisions for Leek.
  • Cheddleton: North Staffordshire Railway box relocated in 1978 from Elton. This houses a lever frame which allows access between the "main line" and the bay platform/motive power depot but operationally is regarded as a ground (shunt) frame, no other operational signalling equipment being present. New-build signal box is planned in the medium term to control all movements in/around Cheddleton.
  • Consall: The signal box came from Clifton, near Ashbourne and was stored for around 18 years in Cheddleton yard before moving to Consall in 2002. This is the only fully operational box on the railway, being commissioned in 2004 to allow two trains running.
  • Kingsley and Froghall: Kingsley & Froghall never had a signal box at the station, the area instead having two boxes. One was located north of the station to control Bolton's sidings (an important industrial exchange site), the other being south of the station, controlling the junction to the small Froghall Wharf branch. In preservation, a platform box (from Rushton) has been installed NSR style on the down platform where it is used as an outpost for catering on high season days. It has no signalling equipment inside.

Current operations

The railway mostly runs the "one train staff" system, Consall box spending most of its time "switched out". The railway is split into three sections: Leekbrook Junction-Consall; Consall-Kingsley & Froghall; and Kingsley & Froghall-Oakamoor. The last of these, not being used for passenger trains, is protected by a stop board south of passenger operations at Froghall. Leek Brook-Ipstones is an additional fourth section as well, with its own separate signalling staff. Most running days see the Leekbrook Junction-Consall and Consall-Kingsley & Froghall staffs locked together with a single engine/train in service. On peak days they can be split, with Consall box opened, and a simple two-train service operated.


Passengers may join the railway at only three stations: Cheddleton, Consall and Kingsley and Froghall. Cheddleton is the operational headquarters and site of the motive power depot, engine shed and the carriage and wagon restoration workshops. The original Victorian station building houses the North Staffordshire Railway museum. There is also a refreshment room and booking office. Consall is a small rural station with Victorian buildings and waiting room. There is also a passing loop. Kingsley and Froghall station is newly built in the style of the old North Staffordshire Railway. There is a run-round loop of track and a watering column.

The CVR's current track boundary at Leek Brook is in passenger use, but there is no access to the platform other than the railway.

Given the various nearby former railway tracks, the CVR has various plans for expansion. Extension north to Leek is the current priority, where a platform has been granted outline planning permission. The former quarry at Oakamoor is planned to be converted into a holiday, for which the CVR hopes to re-open its line to connect with at the former sand sidings where a new platform will be built. South of the sidings is another bridge crossing over the River Churnet and the 497-yard (454 m) "Oakamoor Tunnel" and Oakamoor railway station, which might be rehabilitated if a southern extension of the line is built to Alton Towers (which has the potential to service the nearby theme park), despite the former station buildings being a Landmark Trust-owned holiday property.

Leek Brook-Waterhouses section

  • Bradnop
    • 36-yard "Bradnop Tunnel" directly north of station
    • Former Bradnop station site cleared (no public access)
  • Ipstones
    • Apesford level crossing close by
    • Current terminus of the route, no public access
    • Platform not in-use, plans are being looked at for re-opening
    • Ipstones Summit (further 12 mile [0.80 km] south) at 1,063 feet above sea level
  • Winkhill
    • No track at present (2014)
    • Former station building now private residence
  • Cauldon Lowe
    • Track torn up to be used at Endon
  • Waterhouses
    • Possible future terminus of the CVR
    • Former Leek & Manifold signal box now a cycle hire
    • Start of the Manifold Trail


  • 2005: National Railway Heritage Awards, Ian Allan Publishing Award, awarded for Consall station and signalling and Kingsley & Froghall station
  • 2008 National Railway Heritage Awards, National Express East Coast Volunteers Award, awarded for the reconstruction of the Up platform and waiting shelter at Kingsley and Froghall. The project was joint first with the Great Central Railway.
  • 2013: Winner of "ACES Best Dinner Award 2012"
  • 2015: Winner of "Best Use of Production Music in Radio Advertising" at Library Music Awards for Signal1 Radio "1940s Event" advert
  • 2016: Winner of Daily Mirror Top 10 UK Steam Train Trips
  • 2019: 9th in Telegraph Travel "Best One-Day Rail Journeys in the World"

Media coverage

  • In 1983 Simon Groom visited as part of the BBC programme Blue Peter to cover the movement of the former singable from Clifton to Cheddleton
  • In July 1985 Cheddleton station was used as the fictional Fuddlewich in the BBC series Happy Families starring Jennifer Saunders
  • In April 2001 Vince Henderson visited to record the annual wartime event for an episode of Discovery Real Time's Off the Rails
  • In September 2011 the line featured in an episode of Countryfile. The railway's diesel multiple unit was used for several interviews on the subject of the British "staycation effect". The programme featured several locations along the line, including Cheddleton & Consall stations and the demolished wire mills at Bolton's (Froghall) adjacent to the railway.
  • In September 2012 the railway's diesel multiple unit featured on Ashbourne Radio in a two-part feature on DMU's and their wider impact when introduced to the UK's railways in the late 1950s. The coverage was also used to advertise the railway's diesel gala later that month.
  • In January 2016 the railway was included in an episode of Michael Portillo's popular Great British Railway Journeys
  • In September 2019 S160 5197 was featured in an episode of UKTV's Train Truckers, following the locomotives transfer from the CVR to Telford Steam Railway for their Polar Express specials

Failed and incomplete projects

Ruth Froghall Stn CVR 5199 06.08.11 edited-2
Kingsley and Froghall from the road overbridge in 2011 with the up platform at upper left

Whitebridge Lane cottage (2008–2010)

A landslip immediately south of the station at Cheddleton dating back to BR days has previously prevented the installation of a passing loop, and therefore the development of the original "down" platform. Various projects have looked at remedying this over the years. As part of the CVLLP scheme stage 1 of the bank stabilisation has been undertaken. This has proved a success and phase 2 will commence when funds and traffic demand it.

In November 2008 an investigation was undertaken for the proposed relocation of Whitebridge Lane Crossing cottage from its present location next to the West Coast Main Line at Stone to the "down" platform at Cheddleton. Empty since the last crossing keeper left in 1998, the building has been left derelict and vandalised as because of the building's current close proximity to the running line at Stone, it cannot be sold or put to any other use in its present location.

The portacabins located on the proposed site at Cheddleton were moved in early 2010 in anticipation for the move, and the ground cleared ready for the relocation works to start.

However, in 2011 increased costs from Network Rail resulted in the cancellation of the move, and a new tea room was constructed on the "up"

Cheddleton Station (2014–present)

As part of the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Project, following the completion of phase 1 at Leek Brook the NSRC has devised phases 2, 3 & 4 that will see heritage items be restored to Cheddleton Station. It has been a long-held ambition to restore Cheddleton to its former glory, and in-turn create a living museum for visitors to enjoy. Phase 2 saw the re-erection of the former Hanley Water column (an original NSR column) on the "down" platform at the north end  This also included the erection of the Braithwaite Tank from Bolton's Works in the car park behind the "down" platform,

Also, separate from the CV LLP, a grant has been obtained to replace a number of the metal fences around Cheddleton with similar to the original NSR-style.

Involvement with Moorland & City Railways – share issue 4

In November 2010 the Churnet Valley Railway was hired to operate a series of events by Moorlands & City Railways to celebrate the re-opening of the Cauldon Branch to the public for the first time since 1935. The branch is noteworthy for its severe gradients, with roughly 5 miles (8.0 km) of 1-in-45/1-in-59 (2.2%/1.7%) in one direction and 2 miles (3.2 km) of 1-in-61 (1.6%) on the return journey. The summit of the line is at Ipstones, being 1,063 feet above sea level.

In 2011 an agreement was reached between CVR and MCR that allowed the CVR to operate services themselves over this branch, and since this date such trains have been run on the first weekend of every month between April and October plus additional special events such as enthusiast galas and private charters. This agreement required Churnet Valley Railway to purchase shares in MCR, and so in February 2011 publicity trains were run with 5199 and 33021 over the Cauldon line to launch this latest scheme first to current shareholders and then to the public. The overall target was £450,000 much higher than previous share issues, and the vast majority of this was raised which allowed the initial investment in MCR to go ahead.

In Summer 2014, CVR then re-opened share issue 4 under the "Ipstones Track Appeal" banner as following further discussions it had been decided to accept an offer from MCR to purchase the track work (sleepers, chairs, rails) of the remaining 412 miles (7.2 km) from Leek Brook to Ipstones from MCR. Track from the little-used section between Froghall and Oakamoor Quarry was lifted to make the first instalment, with a previous loan from CVR to MCR being converted into a second instalment.

The third payment was proposed to come from the re-launched share issue, and at first only current shareholders were invited to support. This brought in over half the required amount, and so in October 2014 the Ipstones Track Appeal was made public. The offer period was then extended at Christmas to Spring 2015 following which the full amount of shares were successfully sold.

Future extensions

Northwards — Leek

Birchall Tunnel, North Staffs - - 61267
The 69 yards (63 m) Birchall Tunnel, between Leek Brook Junction and Leek 53°05′19″N 2°01′44″W / 53.088486°N 2.028969°W / 53.088486; -2.028969

Also see "Leek (Churnet Valley) railway station" about the future of the proposed station.

It has always been the CVR long-term aim to re-open the line back into the market town of Leek, and after the Froghall extension of 2001 the railway made it clear that the extension into Leek was the next priority in terms of physical expansion.

The CVR have taken on the Leek project themselves, and after much dialogue with the Council received outline planning permission for their own proposal in May 2018. They then launched their own project publicly on 1 February 2020. The Railway received a £1.4 million grant from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and hope to reinstate a rail triangle (the first in preservation in the UK).

A separate company are proposing redevelopments of the Barnfields estate in Leek, which is the mooted location for the new station. These plans were given Outline Planning Permission in December 2014, and include the construction of a new platform for the railway, new Marina connecting into the Leek branch of the Caldon Canal as well as a new restaurant and potentially a dedicated North Staffordshire Museum.


Alton Staffordshire Railway Station
The surviving building near Alton Towers

To the south, from Froghall, the line is under the ownership of the CVR as far as the former sand sidings at Oakamoor even though as of 2014 the trackwork has been lifted. After this the line crossed over the River Churnet straight into a tunnel before Oakamoor station is reached. The track to the sidings requires upgrading for passenger use, and work on the tunnel and the rebuilding of the station site would be necessary to extend further than the former quarry, although it is considered viable. Whilst the railway owns the track as far as the sand sidings, the bridge, tunnel and trackbed beyond this is in the hands of Staffordshire County Council.

A new station platform called "Moneystone" (name of the former quarry) has been mooted at the site of the former sand sidings by the CVR to connect to a new Holiday Camp that has been proposed for the former quarry itself

Further south is Oakamoor itself, and then onto Alton Towers, where the station building has been restored although it is owned by the Landmark Trust. The prospect of running trains as far as Alton is potentially lucrative given the tourist potential provided by the popular Alton Towers which is located nearby. This is something of a long-term prospect, however, especially as this section of track now forms part of the National Cycle Network "National Route 54".

This 4-mile (6.4 km) section (from Froghall-Alton Towers) is in principle regarded as commercially viable to reopen, and has been stated as a longer-term expansion aim of Moorland & City Railways.

The next station on the route south of Alton is Denstone, and the trackbed is clear of as far as the former platforms then a house has encroached on the former level crossing making expansion beyond Denstone back towards the mainline at Uttoxeter improbable without significant financial outlay.


Bucknall & Northwood Station 1933424 71025ab9
A 1962 view of Bucknall, one of the several demolished stations on the 10-mile (16 km) line to Stoke

West of Leek Brook Junction is the 10-mile (16 km) Stoke–Leek line. The line is part of the planned Moorland & City network (see separate section) and is mothballed by Network Rail pending work to return it to a usable condition. As the Churnet Valley Railway has certain running rights on the Moorland & City network, it is feasible that heritage steam trains could use the line once more.

Any possible extension towards Stoke-on-Trent railway station could see the Churnet Valley Railway interchange with commuter rail services on the West Coast Main Line once time, money and finances allow.

In January 2012 the CVR publicly announced they were involved in the restoration of the 4 miles (6.4 km) from Leek Brook Junction to Endon Station in collaboration with Moorlands & City Railways. In 2011 vegetation was cleared on the section to allow a comprehensive survey of the track to be undertaken, and in 2012 extensive sleeper replacement began in order to bring the route up to passenger carrying standards. This was being completed by Churnet Valley Railway volunteers, in partnership with Moorland & City Railways, and supported by contractors where necessary.

Work stopped when a local resident made a village green application for the trackbed, claiming that the line had become a village green through its lack of use as a railway for a number of years and that many locals used it as a footpath already. This was eventually rejected by Staffordshire County Council, as none of the criteria for village green status were met. Meanwhile, negotiations continued between MCR (plus CVR) and Network Rail to instate a heritage service on a restricted number of dates to Endon. In early 2013 it was announced that the CVR would be looking to take a tenancy out on part of the former station building to open a tea room, in order to create a presence within the village and signal its commitment to returning trains to the station. This tea room was subsequently opened on 13 January 2015 by a local couple and named 'The Station Kitchen'.

Annual Steam Galas

Churnet Valley Railway have hosted steam galas throughout the years with some of them being commemorative events celebrating 25 years of CVR, and the 40th Anniversary of the North Staffordshire Railway Company.


Home Locomotives: S160 No. 6046 & LNER Class N7 No. 69621

Guest Locomotives: GWR Steam Railmotor No.93, SR West Country Class No. 34007 'Wadebridge' & Beyer, Peacock & Co 0-4-0ST No. 1827


Home Locomotives: TKh49 0-6-0T No. 2944 'Hotspur' & S160 No. 6046

Guest Locomotive: GWR 5600 Class 0-6-2T No. 5619

2017 (25th Anniversary Gala)

Home Locomotive: S160 No. 5197

Guest Locomotives: GWR 7800 "Manor" Class 7820 "Dinmore Manor" & GWR 4200 Class No. 4277


Steam locomotives

Number Name Type Livery Status Notes Image
2226 Katie Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST Lined Red Awaiting Overhaul Ex Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, now privately owned. Arrived September 2016 following years of display at Brookside Miniature Railway following changes within the adjacent garden centre. Will eventually be returned to working order. []
2871 TKh49 0-6-0 Spares Donor Owned by "Anglia Shunters Ltd". Arrived April 2014 from the Spa Valley Railway, after purchase by Members of the CVR MPD. Funds being acquired for eventual restoration. []
2944 Hotspur TKh49 0-6-0 Green Operational Owned by "Anglia Shunters Ltd". Entered service June 2014 after 12-month restoration by members of MPD following purchase by Members of the MPD. Already covered around 1,500 miles (2,400 km) since restoration as of September 2014. Queueing for the footplate (geograph 4771110).jpg
3278 Franklin D. Roosevelt S160 2-8-0 Longmoor Blue Under Overhaul Under Stewardship of Batt Holden Ltd. Arrived Cheddleton November 2020 ahead of completion of overhaul.
5197 S160 2-8-0 USATC Black Operational Owned by Batt Holden Ltd. Ten-year overhaul recommenced June 2014 and was completed in January 2017. Star of the popular Polar Express UK specials at the Telford Steam Railway. USA Class S160 No 5197 (8063150731).jpg
6046 S160 2-8-0 USATC Black Operational Owned by Batt Holden Ltd. Returned from Tyseley in early 2016 following repairs. Bishops Lydeard - USATC 6046 by the water tower.jpg
44422 4F 0-6-0 BR Black Awaiting repair Built in 1927 under the LMS, and was withdrawn by BR in June 1965. First former BR steam locomotive to arrive at CVR from Barry Scrapyard in April 1977. First returned to steam in 1990, the locomotive spent periods out on hire until the CVR was formally re-opened in 1996. An overhaul was required in 2000, after which she continued to perform at the CVR and made visits to other railways before she was moved to the Nene Valley Railway in 2009. The boiler ticket expired in July 2013 following failure of the crown stays, but in December 2014 a 25-year lease was signed with the West Somerset Railway that would see the 4F restored for the 50th Anniversary of the closure of the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway in 2016. In 2019, the agreement with the WSR was terminated and the locomotive returned to the Churnet Valley in December that year. It is currently out of service requiring major bottom end repairs and awaits an assessment due to be carried out in 2020. 44422 on the demolition train - - 1181740.jpg
48173 8F 2-8-0 N/A Undergoing restoration Owned by Batt Holden Ltd. Long-term project. Parts accumulation has been ongoing and restoration has begun in earnest. LMS 8F 2-8-0 48173 Bitton, AVR 3.4.2006 (9922367776).jpg

Former residents

Number Type Livery Status Notes Image
80136 4MT 2-6-4T BR Lined Black Operational Built in 1956. After leaving Cheddleton, the locomotive operated on the West Somerset Railway until its boiler ticket expired. Was stored at Crewe Heritage Centre for several years. Now operational at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. West Somerset Railway.jpg
No 2 NSR New L Class 0-6-2T NSR Lined Maroon On Display Built in 1923, NSR no. 2 was one of five "New L" locos sold to Manchester Collieries in Walkden by the LMS in October 1937 under its LMS identity of 2271. The loco was named "Princess" in 1938, and was eventually rebuilt with a new saturated boiler and new tanks, bunker and cylinders in 1946.

In 1960 the locomotive was repainted as NSR No 2 for the "North Staffordshire Railway Centenary" exhibition in Stoke-on-Trent. Following the loco's appearance at this event it kept its identity as NSR no. 2 upon its return to industrial service at Walkden.

In 1964 the boiler, tanks and cab from "Princess" were fitted onto the chassis of another former NSR New L loco (NSR no. 72 built in 1920 / LMS no. 2262—had been subsequently named "Sir Robert" at Walkden). The NSR no. 2 identity was maintained, however, and upon the end of service at Walkden the loco passed into the National Collection. This has created a high level of debate over the loco's identity though, as traditionally locomotives took their numbers from their frames which would make the surviving loco NSR no. 72. As 'New L' class all had superheated boilers, the fact the loco survives with a saturated boiler takes the discussion much further as to whether it can even be classed as a NSR loco.

No. 2 original chassis received a new boiler plus the bunker and tanks from NSR no. 69 (named "King Gearge VI" at Walkden) in 1965, before this locomotive was scrapped in 1969 despite attempts to preserve it.

The surviving loco was owned by the National Railway Museum and spent a period on display at the CVR in the late 1990s. Following some time on display at Shildon Locomotion Museum it was delisted from the National Collection, and donated to the Foxfield Railway where it is now on display in their museum at Caverswall Road. Its identity as NSR no. 2 has been maintained throughout its life in preservation.

North Staffordshire Railway, 0-6-2T No 2, designed by J.H. Adams, built in 1922, withdrawn in 1936 and purchased by Manchester Collieries, subsequently used by the National Coal Board until 1965. (9989611623).jpg
NSR No. 1 / BEL2 Battery Electric 0-4-0BE NSR Lined Maroon On Display Built in 1917. Former Oakamoor Shunter, was the last NSR locomotive of any kind to remain in operational service on the "mainline", being withdrawn in March 1963. Owned by the National Railway Museum and on display at York. Battery locomotive, North Staffordshire Railway - National Railway Museum, York (36243981666).jpg
7821 GWR Manor Class 4-6-0 BR Black On Display – Awaiting Overhaul Named 'Ditcheat Manor' and built in 1950. Operated on the railway from 2005 to 2007 before expiry of her boiler ticket. On display at Museum of the Great Western Railway following purchase by the West Somerset Railway Association in 2008 from Ken Ryder. Norton Fitzwarren 7821 Ditcheat Manor.jpg
3777 / 68030 Hunslet 0-6-0ST BR Black Awaiting overhaul Built in 1952. Ran the first demonstration trains operated at the Cheddleton Railway Centre in 1977, where it was named Josiah Wedgewood. The locomotive was painted into pseudo BR Livery as 68030 and spent many years out on hire at various railways after leaving the CVR in 2006. 68030 returned to the CVR in May 2016 following ten years away but left again in early 2017, this time for the Llangollen Railway. Steam Locomotive 68030 (6928579330).jpg
69621 LNER Class N7 0-6-2T BR Black On Display – Awaiting Overhaul Owned by the East Anglian Railway Museum. It was the last engine built by the Great Eastern Railway's Stratford Works in 1924 and was preserved in 1962. It was also named in honour of its designer A J Hill in 1989. Arrived on the CVR in June 2012, and became the mainstay of services until withdrawal in April 2015 for overhaul. LNER Class N7.jpg

Diesel locomotives

Number Name Type Livery Status Notes
Brightside Yorkshire Engine Company 0-4-0 Black Operational NSRC Owned. Returned to service in 2016 following a major overhaul.
6 Roger H. Bennett Yorkshire Engine Company Janus 0-6-0 NCB Blue Operational NSRC Owned. Main shunting loco at Cheddleton.
D3800 Class 08 BR Green Operational. Privately owned. Arrived December 2016 for initial 5-year period in EWS livery (08633)
D8057 Class 20 BR Green Under Overhaul Privately owned. Arrived December 2016 and overhaul underway.
25322 Tamworth Castle Class 25 "Ice Cream Van" Blue Static Display. Privately owned. Built in 1967. Cosmetically restored in 2008, awaiting completion of Class 20 before overhaul commences.
33021 Eastleigh Class 33 Post Office Red Operational Built in 1960. On loan from Private Owner
33102 Sophie (Unofficial) Class 33 BR Blue Operational NSRC owned. Built in 1960. Launched Sep 2012 following restoration.

Rolling stock

Coaching stock

Coaching Stock in use on passenger trains consists entirely of ex-BR Mark 1 vehicles, with four or five forming a typical rake. These vehicles run in BR maroon livery which is historically correct for the railway's 1950s/1960s image. Only one rake is required for normal services.

Two Mark 1 vehicles are also used for the railway's Moorlander dining services. One is an authentic Kitchen Car, the other being a Second Open converted into a dining coach. Both coaches were overhauled and repainted between November 2009 & March 2010 into Pullman Umber/Cream following a vandal attack in 2009, but were repainted once more in 2015 into a mock Northern Belle Plum & Cream livery.

Designed For Number Type Livery Status Notes
NSR 228 First (FY) NSR Maroon Awaiting Restoration Owned by the NSRC. On a 99-year loan to the Knotty Coach Trust based at Foxfield Railway.
BR E3809 Tourist Second Open Maroon Undergoing Restoration Purchased from Midland Railway Centre in 2020, overhaul commenced Spring 2020.
BR S4046 Tourist Second Open Chocolate & Cream Awaiting Restoration Purchased from Pontypool & Blaenavon in 2020, To be overhauled after 3809.
BR E4354 Tourist Second Open Maroon Operational Bodywork repairs completed August 2014
BR M4366 Second Open White wash Awaiting restoration Gutted shell, purchased from Midland Railway Centre in 2020. Planned to be rebuilt as a dining vehicle.
BR S4392 Tourist Second Open Maroon Operational First restoration completed 1996 – Bodywork repairs & repaint completed for Santa 2014 services.
BR 4779 Second Open Plum/Cream Operational Converted dining coach for "Moorlander" Dining Set. Overhauled & Repainted in pseudo Northern Belle livery, and named Diana after long serving volunteer.
BR W4786 Second Open Maroon Operational Arrived on loan from North Yorkshire Moors Railway in 2016. Was eventually swapped for RMB E1878, and is now part of the CVR running fleet.
BR M4795 Second Open Blue/Grey Stored Awaiting Restoration
BR 5000 Tourist Second Open Maroon Undergoing Overhaul Arrived from NYMR for contract repairs October 2020. To remain on hire to CVR for period of time afterwards.
BR 9390 Mk2 Brake Second Open Green Stored Awaiting restoration – Planned for conversion to Brake / Bar Car for "Moorlander" Dining Train
BR E13236 First Open Plum/Cream Operational Owned by NSRC. Restoration completed 2010 (converted from a Corridor First). As of 2020, in service as second dining vehicle "Nicholas".
BR 14031 Mk2 Brake First Compartment Green Stored Arrived January 2021. Awaiting restoration.
BR M16155 Composite Corridor Maroon Operational Overhauled & Repainted 2014. In service.
LMS 32994 Brake Gangwayed Maroon Awaiting Restoration Privately owned. Restoration started 2013, but now on hold whilst running maintenance is undertaken.
BR E35094 Brake Corridor Second Carmine & Cream Static Former departmental vehicle, being transformed into an exhibition coach at Consall.
BR M35343 Brake Corridor Second Maroon Operational Overhauled & Repainted 2007. Main Brake Coach 2007–2015. Second overhaul include improvements for wheelchair access completed 2016. Now reserve brake coach.
BR M35473 Brake Corridor Second Maroon Operational Restoration completed 1996 – Entered for repairs October 2015, with Accessibility improvements made. Subsequently nominated for HRA Carriage Award.
BR 80030 Restaurant Corridor Plum Operational Kitchen Car used in "Moorlander" dining train. Overhauled & Repainted 2019.
BR 80224 NNX Courier GWR Chocolate Stores Vehicle Arrived from Didcot Spring 2020. Batt Holden support vehicle.
BR 80960 Gangwayed Full Brake Maroon Stores Vehicles Repainted 2019.

Freight vehicles

Typically for a railway of this size, the CVR does not yet have a dedicated wagon restoration group, maintenance of a nucleus of essential vehicles being undertaken by the more established Coach Works. Operational wagons tend to be examples which have an essential function rather than historical importance alone. Despite this though, following the restoration of Warflat WGF8123 in 2015 a small recreational Military Goods is now demonstrable on the line.

The fleet of goods/freight vehicles is relatively small, and can be summarised as follows:

  • Sand Wagon BR WBB30025 PAA - bought by the NSRC in April 2018. Now sole surviving sand wagon that was once used to Oakamoor.
  • Brake Van: LMS 731790 (Running repairs completed December 2014)
  • Shark Brake Van: DB993867 (Purchased in Autumn 2020)
  • Ballast Train: Rake of two Dogfish and two Catfish ballast wagons plus a Whale (DB 993363 / DB993431 / DB983710 / DB993545 / DB982390)
  • Box Vans: There are five 4-wheel box vans serviceable in BR Bauxite livery and regularly used on Photo Charters
  • Engineers: Bogie Bolster DB996724 is regularly used on Engineering trains, and Sole-surviving Parrot 3014 is under-going assessment for restoration. Both are on long-term hire from the National Railway Museum. Two privately owned Medfits are also on the line, though both require repairs before being available for service.
  • There is also a 4-wheel former Esso oil tanker that was restored in 2007 and painted in the colours of a local Oil firm. Currently stored at Leek Brook (ESSO 2305).
  • Ministry of Defence: A selection of vehicles arrived on the railway in 2011 after purchase from MoD Marchwood, and are awaiting restoration. The current pride of the fleet is Warflat WGF8123, with Ramp 95001 and Warwell 4341 also resident.
  • Several vans & well wagons exist around the railway, externally restored and used for storage purposes but they are not used in any trains.

Restoration of wagons is done sporadically. The Coach Works directed its full resources towards eight wagons for a significant part of 2007, the majority of the vehicles which formed a demonstration freight set. The ballast rake was restored in 2001, while all other vehicles have been restored by individual owners at various times.

There are no times when any freight stock is advertised as operating; however, the demonstration freight set sees occasional use during photographic charters and special events.

Supporting groups

  • The North Staffordshire Railway Co. (1978) Ltd. – charitable trust
  • Churnet Valley Railway PLC (1992) – operating company
  • Anglia Shunters Ltd – maintenance of resident Polish tanks
  • Batt Holden Ltd - engineering support
  • Churnet Valley Motive Power Department
  • Churnet Valley Railway Telecoms Department
  • Churnet Valley Railway Permanent Way Department
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