Plans are coming together for the Churnet Valley Railway’s annual summer “Anything Goes” gala over the weekend of 25th/26th June, with a variety of attractions available for visitors to see.
Star attraction will be the first operation of visiting BR Class 14 no. 14901, which is moving to CVR for a 12-month hire to provide cover for 33102 whilst 33021 is undergoing body repairs. 14901 is unique amongst the surviving Class 14s, more commonly known as Teddy Bears, as it operates with a Rolls-Royce engine fitted by the Scottish Railway Preservation Society after its original Paxman engine was removed during its time in service at Andrew Barclays works in Kilmarnock. The locomotive was eventually sold and spent time in the East Midlands whilst some niggling faults were investigated, before the current owner Andrew Briddon bought her in 2008 and returned her to service in 2009.
14901 will be the first Teddy Bear to operate on the Churnet Valley Railway both in preservation and former British Rail days, and will be a welcome addition to the CVR fleet during its hire period.
It’s not just on the railway that we shall be having a guest visitor. In addition to 14901, at Cheddleton a 2ft gauge steam locomotive is booked to operate on a demonstration track erected in the yard. The locomotive appearing will be visiting from the nearby Apedale Valley Light Railway, who will be holding a promotional stand alongside their engine.
This will provide the focal point for the “Railways of Staffordshire” display, with representatives from all the preserved railways in Staffordshire expected to be on show together for the first time ever. The groups on show will be the Amerton Railway, the Moseley Trust (Apedale), the Chasewater Railway, the Leek & Rudyard Railway and the Foxfield Railway.
Further to this, the weekend will also see the first public opening of Leekbrook station following its restoration under the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership. Volunteers will be on hand over the full weekend to show visitors around both the restored platform and signal box.
All of the CVLLP projects will be viewable during your visit, including the re-erected NSR Water Column on platform 2 at Cheddleton and the newly built forge at Cheddleton Motive Power Depot that will be open to visitors for the duration of the weekend.
The recently returned Austerity steam locomotive Hunslet no. 3777 will be on display at Cheddleton, a locomotive that gained local fame when it became the first operational steam locomotive at the Cheddleton Railway Centre which went on to develop into the CVR. Additionally the freshly restored diesel shunter “Brightside” will be on display as it nears completion of a 6-year overhaul by the line’s volunteers.