IT’S looks like full steam ahead for an ambitious heritage railway project that will see a line re-opening to serve Leek for the first time in around 50 years.
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council members are expected to agree to the lease of the track-bed between Leekbrook Junction and Leek to the Churnet Valley Railway (CVR) at next Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.
The scheme will involve the CVR reinstating under a mile of track to a new rail terminus planned as part of the town’s Cornhill development.
Greg Wilson, interim managing director of CVR, says the project has major potential to boost tourism in the Moorlands, bringing visitors into the market town by rail for the first time since the 1960’s.
Eventually it is hoped to connect Leek with the national rail network at Stoke, with passenger and freight trains passing through Endon and Stockton Brook en-route to the Potteries.
Around 70,000 visitors a year are attracted to the CVR which operates an 11-mile return trip for passengers between Cheddleton and Froghall.
There is also a 4.5-mile branch line that leads up from Leekbrook Junction to Ipstones.