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Rail plan is just unrealistic

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: November 28, 2013

Comments (4)

SINCE your first Post & Times article in October 2009 I have lost count of how many times have you published a headline regarding the "return of rail" to Leek!

I put it to you that this whole proposal is pure fantasy.

Four years on and lets examine what has been achieved. Yes the Churnet Valley Railway has run Steam Trains to Cauldon Lowe over an existing line but what else?

They have raised over £350,000 through a share offer which shows the fantastic support of local people and rail enthusiasts.

I can't tell you the actual amount as strangely enough they no longer publish that information on their web site.

However, on a visit to the railway in the summer an over friendly guard happily told me that all the money had been spent on paying bills for running costs.

Not a new café, nor a new toilet block or Community Room at Cheddleton and certainly not on re-opening the line back to Stoke, Leek or Alton.

All these were promises made in their 2011 Share Issue Prospectus.

I often walk my dogs around Leekbrook and all the sidings there and the Leek spur have already been lifted, and according to the men on site it was being sold for scrap as they needed the money.

Now they want to sell that land for housing and to raise more money.

Incidentally, can they even sell land that is only leased to them by Network Rail?

Also, and according to their own web site, they are now "removing the track, ballast etc over the section from Ipstones to Cauldon" as it is not up to standard.

Well it carried freight for many years and more recently double headed steam locomotives and passenger trains weighing hundreds of tons!

So we must assume this also being sold as scrap to raise more cash.

The Churnet Valley Railway's financial problems were confirmed a couple of weeks ago when the Post & Times announced that they had made a staggering loss of £90,000 in 2012.

Lifting track and selling land is more akin to the behaviour of a company in trouble rather than one wishing to reinstate a railway.

If the directors of an established five-mile long heritage railway cannot run that small enterprise at a profit how on earth can anyone truly believe they have the faintest idea of how to reopen the line to Stoke which would unquestionably cost millions.

There is more chance of Sainsburys reinstating Leek's roundabout!

Finally don't get confused by the fact that it is Moorland & City Railways that are reopening the line to Stoke, not the Churnet Valley Railway, as both companies are run by the same directors including Mr Kemp. R Byrne, Ipstones

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4 comments

  • 5952Cogan  |  December 02 2013, 9:41AM

    This information was provided in the CVR accounts, and at the CVR AGM. But let's not allow the facts to get in the way of a good rant?

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  • 5952Cogan  |  December 02 2013, 9:38AM

    Whilst this viewpoint is understandable, unfortunately it contains a number of misconceptions. The money raised through the Share Issue has not been spent on running costs. It has gone into the purchase of MCR Shares, exactly as described in the Prospectus. With regards to the new cafe, the Share Issue was only one part of the finance to it. Due to various reasons not all the finance became available, so this part of the plan has been put on the back burner until the finance is available. It will happen, just not yet. As for the track replacement, the requirements for operating Heritage services under a LRO are very different to those of Commercial Freight under a T&WO. This is why the rail needs to be replaced, and this is why it is being done.

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  • 5952Cogan  |  December 02 2013, 9:38AM

    Whilst this viewpoint is understandable, unfortunately it contains a number of misconceptions. The money raised through the Share Issue has not been spent on running costs. It has gone into the purchase of MCR Shares, exactly as described in the Prospectus. With regards to the new cafe, the Share Issue was only one part of the finance to it. Due to various reasons not all the finance became available, so this part of the plan has been put on the back burner until the finance is available. It will happen, just not yet. As for the track replacement, the requirements for operating Heritage services under a LRO are very different to those of Commercial Freight under a T&WO. This is why the rail needs to be replaced, and this is why it is being done.

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  • DaveBD  |  November 30 2013, 11:06AM

    Unrealistic Plan 1, Like the one to build a brand new steam loco, Tornado is now a regular sight on our main lines. Unrealistic Plan2, Like the one to build a new railway in North Wales, the Welsh Highland Railway is now running and a great success.

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