The Anonymous Widower

Reopening the Stoke – Leek Line

On October 27th this Beeching Reversal Project was given £50,000 to build a case for reopening.

These are my thoughts.

The State Of The Line Today

This sentence describes the Stoke  Leek Line in Wikipedia.

The Stoke to Leek line is a mothballed railway route, which up until 1988 was used by BR freight trains to reach the quarries at both Cauldon Lowe and Oakamoor.

This map was also clipped from Wikipedia.


  1. Leek is at the top of the map.
  2. Leek is a town of 21,000 people.
  3. The distance between Stoke-on-Trent and Leek is about eleven miles by road.
  4. The Waterhouses branch Line leads to the quarries.
  5. The Churnet Valley Line is a heritage line.

I have flown by virtual helicopter along the line and you can see a single-track railway amongst the weeds.


This Google Map shows Leek.

The original station was demolished to make way for the Morrisons supermarket.

I suspect that there is sufficient space close to the supermarket to fit in a simple single-platform station for the single-track from Stoke-on-Trent.

Rolling Stock

I suspect this line would best be served by battery-electric trains.

  • It’s no more than a dozen miles.
  • There is electrification at Stoke-on-Trent station.
  • Leek has the lower altitude by 220 ft.

I suspect a charging system would be needed at Leek.

Vivarail’s Class 230 trains could be ideal for this line.


Reading about the line, it appears that there are plans that propose reopening the line for traffic from the quarries.

It would need to be decided, if freight were to be allowed on the line.


This could be a useful passenger line, with a freight capability, if that were needed.

October 31, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , ,


  1. […] See Reopening the Stoke – Leek Line […]

    Pingback by Restoring Your Railway Planning Funds Allocated « The Anonymous Widower | November 3, 2021 | Reply

  2. An interesting view, but does a simple reopening not ignore the all-important question of Origin-Destination? I imagine a great number of travellers to Leek would be either students travelling to one of Stoke College’s campuses, or else shoppers or workers to Hanley. The Leek line – built as a predominantly freight line – has limited utility here.

    It seems that it would make more sense to reinstate the line with OLE and tram-height platforms. Tram-train rolling stock such as the Class 399 Stadler Citylinks (used in Sheffield) could then be used to service Leek-Stoke Station but also take a spur into Hanley – connecting to the Council’s proposed Tunstall-Hanley tram.

    The line itself should be instated as a heavy rail line since in addition to the possibility of freight traffic, the CVR would very much like a mainline connection to get heritage rolling stock in and out rather than contracting specialist HGV services. However, all passenger services would be via tram-train.

    I am of course presuming that the tram scheme actually happens, but I fear a “cheap” reinstatement of the line using standard rail platforms might paint it into a corner in terms of future integration with Stoke-wide transit.

    On a practical note I daresay that a two-line platform at Leek and a dynamic passing loop halfway along to accommodate higher-frequency services during rush hour may be necessary, or should at least be passively-provisioned for. My thoughs:

    Comment by Richard | November 16, 2021 | Reply

    • Thanks for that! I’ll check it out later.

      Comment by AnonW | November 16, 2021 | Reply

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