A RAIL37 Churnet Valley Railway picture report


 In 1970 I became a founder member of the Cheshire and Staffordshire Railway Society which, through various incarnations, has become the North Staffordshire Railway Company (1978) Limited from which has spawned the Churnet Valley Railway plc. Predominantly a steam hauled private railway operating in North Staffordshire, England, Join me as I reminisce.

In the beginning....

...there was the Cheshire and Staffordshire Railway Society, born out of ideas formed by Ken Simpson and enthused to a small group of would-be railwaymen. The target was the Biddulph Valley route which branched North from the Stoke-Leekbrook line at Milton Junction, passed by the Victoria Colliery, crossed the Cheshire border and ran under the Stoke-Manchester line to Congleton Wharf.

Early soundings to Cheshire County Council met with lukewarm interest and really there was little encouragement from anyone. However, faith moves mountains, and, when Cheddleton Station was about to meet its end, a local Councillor stepped in with a rescue plan. With help from Sir John Betjemen and the Victorian Society, the building gained Grade II listed status and an invitation to us to become tenants was quickly, and gratefully, accepted. This prompted a rapid change of name to become the North Staffordshire Railway Society, later amended to The North Staffordshire Railway Co.(1978) Ltd.. The rest, as they say, is history and these and other events to date have been well chronicled elsewhere.

The founding days demanded much from the few and I have lost track of the different administrative roles I played in the development of the railway. The highlight of my "career" on the railway was the acquisition and movement of the Elton Crossing Signal Box to Cheddleton where it remains today. In those early days of the 70's there were not too many serious photographers to be found around Cheddleton and I certainly had no decent camera, just an instamatic! I did, however, manage to accumulate a few shots of pioneering endeavours which, together with the more modern images, are displayed on the related pages.
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