Shareholders and regular visitors to the railway will be very familiar with the Cauldon branch which the CVR has, by arrangement with our colleagues at MCR, been using periodically for the last 2 ½ years at no cost to the CVR.
This branch is part of MCR's route to the main line at Stoke and we have always been aware that a further substantial upgrade and replacement of much of the outdated track will be needed before MCR can run regular freight trains. MCR have recently told us that they will be starting very shortly on the first section of this work by removing the track, ballast etc over the section from Ipstones to Cauldon and this section of the line will therefore not be useable by CVR until the new track is installed, most probably next year.
We are aware that this section of track is not in particularly good condition and would otherwise require significant expense on repairs which cannot be justified by occasional heritage use.
In the meantime, trains on the Cauldon branch will terminate at Ipstones adjacent to the B5053. This is an attractive location set in open countryside and we intend, with the co-operation of adjacent landowners, to re-establish the original platform so that detraining is possible. This will enable passengers to access the local footpath network and other nearby attractions such as the Beaver Hall Equestrian Centre. There will be NO vehicular access to Ipstones. Our arrangements with landowners have been negotiated on the basis of visitors arriving by train.
Both rail companies feel that ultimately the best permanent terminus on this branch would be to reinstate the line into the largely intact former Waterhouses station site. This is not a technically difficult approach but will require landowner co-operation. If achieved, this would be an attractive location, in an accessible main road position with good parking and direct access to local attractions such as the Manifold Valley.
The current Cauldon site is not particularly attractive, has no public facilities and detraining there will not be possible once industrial operations have started. In these circumstances, Ipstones is a better temporary solution.
Please keep up with developments on all of this via our website. There will also shortly be some interesting new announcements to be made by MCR about the development of their network so please look out for these over the next few weeks.