Welcome to The Leek Log, an opportunity to share news and views on business, leisure and community activities in Leek and the Staffordshire Moorlands.
If you have something to tell others about, let me know either by commenting on the blog or emailing me at david@davidcliffe.com

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Railway dream could be nightmare to achieve

News that large stretches of neglected railway line could be brought back into use in the Moorlands is a promising prospect for the district.

Moorland and City Railways Ltd (MCR), a private venture launched by some of the people who have been involved in the Churnet Valley Railway success story, has agreed to take over the disused line between Leekbrook and Cauldon Lowe and there's talk of linking Leek back up with Stoke station and even providing an alternative means of reaching Alton Towers by extending the Churnet Valley operation as far as Alton Station.

It's a hugely ambitious plan that would deliver real benefits to the Moorlands, both from a visitor attraction point of view and the prospect of a 'greener' transport option.

But before we rush to book our season tickets to the Potteries, let's not forget the considerable challenges along the way - and not just the vegetation that buries the unused line.

Restoring a regular link with Stoke will involve major safety issues along a route which hasn't seen a train for a couple of decades, not least at least two points where the line crosses a road - the former automatic crossing at Station Road, Endon is completely vandalised.

The company will also have to win over many residents who don't particularly want trains back on the line. At Oakamoor villagers are already protesting about the plan to link up with neighbouring Alton - that stretch of track is now a well-used footpath and bridleway and there's no way trains, ramblers and horses could co-exist on the narrow strip.

And only a couple of weeks ago, pupils from Endon High School won a £1,000 prize for their idea of using part of the disused line as a footpath.

Best of luck MCR - you're certainly going to need it!

1 comment:

  1. The line was double track through the churnet valley, and as proved elsewhere provides more than enough room for a single-line railway and 3m path/cycletrack.