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S160 Canal Shot

Churnet Valley Railway News

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S160 Heaven

03/09/2022 (1 year ago)   General News

When the railway first arrived in Cheddleton, few could imagine just what it would become in the 21st Century. From a humble countryside station with a single track goods yard to support local trade, to an engineering base and the operational headquarters of the Churnet Valley Railway. The pride of the modern day fleet are former USATC S160s nos. 5197 and 6046, which are enjoying retirement in the Staffordshire Moorlands and were joined by a third member of the class no. 3278 ‘Franklin D Roosevelt’ in early 2021.

These American Beauties have become synonymous with the Churnet Valley Railway, and this week has seen all three receive attention. 3278 is currently undergoing overhaul having last operated in 1999 and the current tasks is the installation of the screw reverse and the construction of the  smokebox front. S160s don’t have a traditional door like British locomotives, but a plate that covers the front of the smokebox with a smaller door that enables access as required. This door is off centre in order to provide room for the air pump, all of which can be seen in the pictures as a wooden dummy air pump is used for marking up the plate.

6046 meanwhile has been stripped following her boiler ticket expiring earlier this year. The combined efforts of Batt Holden staff and Churnet Valley volunteers has already seen the boiler removed ahead of a full retube, with the plan being for a return to service in time for Polar Express season 2022. Her cladding and cab have been positioned on a Rectank so they can be manoeuvred around the yard, whilst her frames had received a degrease during the day.

5197 is currently the only operational member of the fleet, and after spending another day working to Ipstones and back came back on shed to receive the attention of the MPD.

In June she played a major role in the wedding of a local couple. Hannah & Chris met on the railway where Chris is a volunteer and Hannah was working in the tearooms.  12 years later Chris is now a member of Batt Holden staff and one of CVR’s steam drivers, and whilst Hannah may have gone on to other things, they returned to Froghall station to celebrate their marriage and enjoy a reception with friends and family aboard the dining service.