Sunday, 10 April 2016

A passenger ride to Ipstones on the Churnet Valley Railway

Occasionally the Churnet Valley Railway operates services not only up and down the valley, but also up onto the Ipstones line in the Staffordshire Moorlands. This line originally ran to Cauldon Lowe stone quarry and also to nearby Waterhouses where it made an end-on connection with the Leek & Manifold Valley Light Railway narrow gauge line to Hulme End.

Co-incidentally, Malc, Ivan and I rode our little bikes to Hulme End in the lovely Derbyshire White Peak on Friday, and had lunch in the cafe there which is the former L&MVLR engine shed.

The CVR is currently operating one of Greg Wilson's two mighty S160 2-8-0 USA locomotives, No.6046, which is off to the North York Moors Railway soon, on hire. His other S160 is still in the workshops at Cheddleton and won't be in service for some time yet. So yesterday I decided to take the opportunity to ride behind 6046 the length of the valley, and up the 1 in 40 curving gradient out of Leekbrook en route for Ipstones.

One of the privileges of being a CVR volunteer is I was able to ride in the empty stock from Cheddleton to Froghall, from where the service commenced.

 The S160 at Froghall awaiting the 'off'

S160 cab, firehole doors open to provide some 'top air' to reduce smoke 

The River Churnet after several days of rain 

Just north of Consall station, crossing the Caldon Canal 

I had this supremely comfortable first class compartment all to myself in the BR Mk1 coach, with its side corridor the other side of the sliding door

The first of three Dave Gibson pictures of our train up and out of the valley, on the Ipstones branch. The S160 sounded superb climbing the 1 in 40 bank out of Leekbrook onto the branch, with six on. 

 Dave's second picture shows 6046 in Moorlands country on the way to Ipstones 

His final picture is of 6046 completing the run-round of its train in the loop at Ipstones, ready for the return to the Churnet Valley and stations to Froghall


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