The Churnet Valley Railway has announced plans to reopen the line to Leek after more than 40 years.
Following the announcement of a £1.4m grant from the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development last year, and despite the disruption caused by COVID-19, work has been going on behind the scenes to prepare the contracts and contractors for this project.
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Matt Wilton, Signalling Director of Mosaic Rail Ltd, said: “We are delighted to be working on this project with the Churnet Valley Railway – this will give an opportunity to integrate modern technology and design systems into signalling systems used from the bygone days of the railway as part of a heritage railway operation.”
The centrepiece of this project will be the re-introduction to service of the Grade II listed signal box at Leek Brook Junction, something that will also include the re-instatement of the former triangle for the first time since 1935 – and make it the first fully signalled original triangle within UK preservation.
The works will make Leek Brook Junction the oldest operational first-generation style of McKenzie & Holland (M&H) signal box in the UK. M&H were used as contractors by the original North Staffordshire Railway Company before the railway company adopted its own style in 1875. Leek Brook box was formally completed in 1872 though some records date the box as early as 1867, and structurally it remains in as-built condition at its original location.
Greg Wilson, Managing Director of the Churnet Valley Railway, said: “Partnerships are the fundamentals of business none more so that in the Heritage Rail sector. This partnership ensures that we will have a signalling system with safety at its core, making use of our Heritage assets whilst also providing a valuable insight in to how previous generations signalled trains.”
The Churnet Valley Railway will reopen on June 19 with the Ipstones Express service. Tickets are available to book on the Churnet Valley Railway’s website.