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Railway cuts services amid £98k shortfall

By MIG: Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: October 11, 2013

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A HERITAGE railway has cut its services after making a loss of £98,000 last year.

Churnet Valley Railway (CVR) runs trains from Froghall to Leekbrook, and also on a more recent reopened line to Cauldon Lowe.

The figures, which relate to the 12 months to December 31, 2012, were announced at the last meeting of Ipstones Parish Council, which is a shareholder in the railway.

The company will be holding its annual general meeting this Saturday, October 12.

In its directors’ report and financial statement for the year, chairman Tony Hancock, said: “The loss is a culmination of several negative factors including the appalling weather experienced at nearly every 2012 event and reduced footfall by the general public as a result of the general and local poor economic climate.

“Significant operating changes have now been implemented by the board in a major move to reduce or remove loss making train services.

“This has meant the removal of several operating days at the start and end of the season as well as the introduction of a low and high season timetable.

“This has cut out many poorly supported trains at the beginning and the end of the day, while having the positive effect of allowing private trains, such as the popular Footplate Experience, to run either side of the reduced public timetable.”

David Kemp, who is a director of Churnet Valley Railway and also Moorlands City Trains, which owns the Leekbrook to Cauldon line, said that this year the situation had looked a lot more positive.

Mr Kemp said: “This year trains are fuller and we have carried more people.

“We are replacing track on the Cauldon line and work is ongoing to get the Leekbrook to Endon line running.

“This would allow the CVR to run trains down to Endon. We hope to have an announcement in about four or five weeks about our proposals to bring the train services into Leek.”

Concern was raised by Ipstones Parish Council on work taking place at Ipstones Station. Councillor Linda Malyon said: “It looks like work is on-going to build a platform for a dropping off place.

“This is a remote place and there are no facilities or toilets.

“I could have understood it if the stop was being made near Blackbrook Zoological Park.

“If people are dropped off at Ipstones Station they will have to walk up to the main road bridge. This is very dangerous spot.”

The parish council agreed to write to Moorlands City Railways outlining its concerns.

Mr Kemp told the Post & Times that due to work being done on the line, trains would have to stop at Ipstones.

He said: “We would welcome Ipstones Parish Council talking to us about our plans.”

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