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Preservation

In 1992, a newly formed Company applied to the Department of Transport for a Light Railway Order that would give it statutory powers to operate the CVR Line. In 1995 agreement was reached with British Rail for the purchase of that line by the Company, subject to raising the necessary funding. In 1995, the Company also launched a major share issue in order to finance the purchase of the remaining section of the Churnet Valley line. The share issue was well supported, especially by the local community, and succeeded in raising over £120,000.

As a result, the Company was able to purchase the entire seven miles of trackbed and associated works from Leekbrook to Oakamoor and make a substantial down payment towards the purchase of the existing trackwork and sidings. The first passenger train to be operated by the Company ran on the 24th August 1996 over the one mile section of line between Cheddleton and Leekbrook.

Thereafter, a regular service operated at weekends during the Summer and Christmas seasons. Early in 1998 the Company launched its second major share issue, the purpose of which was to raise the balance of the purchase price owing to British Rail and to finance the extension of the passenger train operation southwards from Cheddleton to the secluded hamlet of Consall Forge. This second issue was also successful and raised in excess of £160,000. As a result, the Company was able to launch a passenger service between Leekbrook, Cheddleton & Consall commencing on Saturday 11th July 1998.

After the successful opening of the line south from Cheddleton to Consall Forge, the Company then launched its third major share issue, with the aim of opening the line south of Consall to the former Froghall station site. The plan was to redevelop the area for public use, and to enable the public to begin their journey through the Churnet Valley at Froghall as well as at Cheddleton. This share issue was very successful and raised the sum of £185,000. A completely new station building and platform was built, which incorporated all of the appropriate facilities that the Company required. The design of the station building is in keeping with the Company’s policy of representing a typical British railway scene of the 1950/60’s.

During 2010, a partnership was formed between the Company and Moorland and City Railways, which will allow the Company to operate over the Cauldon Line and other MCR Lines as they became available at no charge. Following extensive refurbishment of the track from Leekbrook Junction to Cauldon Lowe, funded by MCR with assistance from CVR volunteers, the extension of the Light Railway Order to incorporate the Cauldon Line was granted on the 7th October 2010 and it was reopened on 12th November 2010.

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