A RAIL37 Churnet Valley Railway picture report

 LEEKBROOK
 19th February 2003

 Thomas Day at Cheddleton so I decided to avoid the car parking problems and board a train at Froghall. Unfortunately all services had been cancelled due to an incident on the line.

 While approaching the crossing between the two sections of the Thomas Bolton copper mill, a fork truck had tried to beat the train but unfortunately failed and was hit. The train had stopped and passengers were evacuated - nobody on the train, including staff, was injured.

 Construction of Froghall station building was well under way.

 Another view of the factory crossing.

 The factory site.

 I have no idea what that was doing on the Bolton site. The footbridge in the background crosses the Cauldon canal.

 I eventually made it to Cheddleton where Thomas characters were in action.

 Thomas himself.

 View from The Boat.

 On the down platform David Cawthorn MBE was providing rides for children.

 Thomas was providing brake van rides in the shed yard.

 8F chassis waiting for its boiler to be overhauled.

 44422 chassis also waiting for its boiler, under repair at Crewe.

 Diesel shunter awaiting a power unit.

 "Tamworth Castle" with face.

 Last year I photographed the lines at Leekbrook Junction which were completely overgrown. The area has now been cleared again, maybe not to running condition, but it begs the question as to why the work has been carried out and by whom? This shot shows the twin track running away South, down towards Stoke.

 Looking North towards Leek and the Cauldon line veering off to the right in the distance. On the near right is Leekbrook Signal Box and, behind the fence, is the Churnet Valley Railway headshunt.

 The line in the foreground is what would (will) be the continuation of the CVR line if and when the Leek extension is completed. The Cauldon branch runs off right where the warning boards are situated.

 A closer shot.

 In the top shot the Cauldon branch just can be seen in the undergrowth. Above is a shot of two Class 25 diesels approaching the spot from the opposite direction some years ago. Actually it was sometime in the 70's but I have no idea what the exact date was but I do remember that the charter had run up from the South of England and had W prefixed stock.

 The top shot is taken from between the diverging branch lines and the lower is taken from almost the same spot. Again it was the class 25's which ran down to the headshunt where they detached, ran round and reattached for the journey back to Stoke. You will see that the access restrictions to the working were fairly relaxed, some of the rail staff with the hi-vis jackets were in control and, honest, nobody got killed. What a difference today!!

 Moving North and past the Severn Trent entrance crossing to the end of the headshunt with its buffer stop. In the distance is Birchall tunnel.

 Entrance to the southern end of the tunnel.

 A council name board but no identity - "Leekbrook Line" !!!

 It was somewhat cold in the tunnel.

 The North end of the tunnel, striking isn't it.

 The empty track bed running North towards Leek.

 There are places on the embankment where the sun must never shine and this has produced a wonderful Winter display of icicles.

 Inside the tunnel and looking South it was wondrous and so cold that the picture turned as blue as I was.

 Return now and this shot is taken looking South with the CVR line running to the left of the signal box and the Stoke lines veering off right.

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