Take a ride on the Churnet Valley Railway

Written by Shayle

The Churnet Valley Railway is your ticket to a nostalgic journey through the beautiful Staffordshire countryside.

With beautifully restored steam engines and vintage carriages, the Churnet Valley Railway is your opportunity to experience the bygone era of train travel. Whether you’re a history lover, a family looking for a fun day out, or a couple seeking a romantic adventure, you will learn more about the Churnet Valley Railway in this article.

Why visit the Churnet Valley?

Known for its natural beauty, rivers, lush greenery, fairytale villages, historic mills, and industrial heritage, the Churnet Valley is a gorgeous place to spend some time.

Churnet Valley Steam Train.

The area is popular for hiking, camping, cycling, and journeys on the Churnet Valley Railway. There are also some lovely country pubs and tearooms where you can relax and enjoy local food and drinks.

The Churnet Valley Railway

The Churnet Valley Railway is a heritage railway located in the Staffordshire Moorlands of Staffordshire, England. The railway operates on a section of the former Churnet Valley Line, initially opened by the North Staffordshire Railway. Step back to the 1950s and 1960s and jump on board a steam train, travel in a heritage carriage pulled by one of the lovingly restored steam or diesel locomotives.

The Churnet Valley Railway train at a station.

Stretching approximately 10.5 miles (16.9 km), the railway runs from Kingsley and Froghall to Ipstones. The segment from Leek Brook Junction to Ipstones was initially opened by Moorland & City Railways (MCR) in 2010 after securing a lease from Network Rail, and it has since been acquired by the Churnet Valley Railway.

The key stations along the route include Kingsley and Froghall, Consall, Cheddleton, and Leek Brook (utilised as a run-around loop). Efforts are underway to extend the line to the town of Leek, which will serve as the northern terminus. Additionally, the section between Leek and Waterhouses has been reinstated as part of the heritage railway, extending as far as Ipstones.

Click here for information about The Churnet Valley Railway’s history.

Public Train Service

Public Train Service.

The heritage train services operate generally from February to October. They offer weekend journeys and selected midweek days from April through October.

Check the timetable for the latest schedule. 

Locomotive Roster: They run two American-made S160s on nearly all operating days. Some days feature heritage diesel service, during which they operate one of the class 33s, 33102 “Sophie” and 33021 “Eastleigh.”

Departure Times: Trains depart from Froghall Station at two convenient times each day, 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM.

They recommend starting your journey from Froghall Station, but you can also begin your adventure from Cheddleton. 

Under 4’s travel for free

Child tickets are for 4-15 years. Under 4’s travel free (this may vary on special event days and particular services such as Polar Express™ Train Ride)

Are dogs allowed?

Well-behaved dogs can jump on board too! There is a small fee of £10.00 for all services.

Please keep your dog on a lead at all times, ensure that your dog does not sit on seats, and always clean up after your dog. Please note that only service dogs are allowed in dining area or tea rooms, and they can travel free of charge.

The stations

Froghall Station: Get ready to start your adventure through the enchanting English countryside from Froghall Station. The journey takes just over two hours, beginning and ending at Froghall. The station offers limited disabled parking, a convenient drop-off zone, a car park, and essential amenities, including toilets and baby changing facilities. There is also a tea room and gift shop.

Kingsley & Froghall Station at the Churnet Valley Railway.

Consall Station: Consall Station is a hidden gem nestled in the stunning English countryside and can only be accessed by train, adding to its secluded and unique charm. The surrounding area offers a variety of country walks, including a beautiful route connecting Consall to Cheddleton via the Cauldon Canal and River Churnet.

Cheddleton Station: Cheddleton Station is the original station along the Churnet Valley Railway, dating back to the Victorian era. It is a Grade II listed building located by the banks of the River Churnet and provides convenient amenities, including toilets and baby changing facilities.

Stop by the locomotive sheds, where dedicated volunteers work hard to ensure the trains run smoothly. They are always available to answer questions and demonstrate the maintenance of the engines. Please be aware that the sheds may be inaccessible during welding work to prioritize guest safety. Don’t forget to stroll along the canal paths to explore St Edward’s Church and Cheddleton Flint Mill.

Leekbrook Station: In 2018, Leekbrook Station, the most recently renovated station on the route, welcomed the public. The station features a quaint countryside building and toilet facilities on the original vintage site.


Churnet Valley Railway.

On their website, you can find information about upcoming events at the Churnet Valley Railway. They host various events throughout the year, such as a Polar Express, Real Ale Trail and Evening Specials.

Click here to find out what’s on.

The Polar Express

Experience the magical journey that begins at Froghall Station in Staffordshire and takes you on a whimsical trip to the North Pole. Come aboard in your pyjamas and immerse yourself in the excitement as the adventure unfolds. Witness the story come to life with the enthusiastic cast, and sing along with your beloved characters from the movie.

Chefs will serve you Hot Chocolate and a Cookie. Be sure to have your tickets ready for the Conductor, and keep an eye out for his impressive dance moves once he’s done punching tickets.

The Polar Express on the Churnet Valley Railway.

And here’s a little secret—the Hobo will accompany you on this magical journey, sharing his unique perspective on Christmas and the power of belief. You might make a new friend by the end of the ride.

Santa eagerly awaits THE POLAR EXPRESS™’s arrival to greet all the believers and give them the first present of Christmas—a beautiful silver bell from his sleigh.

Upon the train’s return to Froghall, take some time to write a letter to Santa. You never know; it might just secure your spot on the nice list!

The entire experience of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ 2024 Train Ride lasts about 1.5 hours, including the 1-hour journey.

Click here for more information.

Dining trains

Churnet Valley Railway offers many different dining train experiences, such as a Sunday Lunch Train, Breakfast Train, Bombay Express, and Staffordshire Cream Tea experience. The steam train dining experiences are very popular.

Churnet Valley Railway dining experiences.

From the moment you arrive at the platform to the moment you disembark, the focus is on providing exceptional service and attention to detail. The dining experiences offer a unique day out and can be part of a memorable weekend with friends, a creative birthday celebration, or a romantic getaway.

Click here for further information.

Food and drink at the stations

The tea Room at Churnet Valley Railway.

The Signals Tea Room: Located at Froghall Station, offering a range of treats, including freshly brewed coffee, cooked breakfast, hot and cold sandwiches, cream teas, and an array of delicious cakes. On chilly days, cosy up by the open fire and enjoy some music on the wireless. Signals Tea Room is accessible for wheelchairs and welcomes families with children.

Cheddleton Station: They offer a small basic refreshment stand, with hot and cold drinks and limited sweet treats open on most running days. This station also has souvenirs to pick up a keepsake from your journey. 

Is there parking at the stations?

At Froghall you can use the car park in the station. There is no charge for Parking.

At Cheddleton you can use the car park adjacent to the station. There is no charge for Parking.

There is no parking at Consall

Disabled parking

There is disabled parking at Froghall Station; however, they have a limited amount of parking. If you cannot find any disabled parking space, you can alight wheelchairs or elderly passengers at the platform before parking your car.

Froghall to Cheddleton | 7 mile, easy walk

We have a selection of Churnet Valley Walks, which are easy to moderate in difficulty. One of our favourites is the Froghall to Cheddleton walk.

The path runs alongside the tranquil Caldon Canal and the River Churnet, offering breathtaking vistas throughout the journey. The route commences at Froghall Wharf on the Caldon Canal, but you also have the option to start from the Kingsley and Froghall Station on the Churnet Valley Railway. This allows you the flexibility of returning via the heritage railway. The trail follows the towpath to Consall before veering off from the canal to explore Consall Nature Park.

Froghall Canal.

As you travel through the woods, you’ll find well-marked trails that lead you past large ponds, streams, and a slightly challenging ascent to Kingsley Banks, where the stunning views of Churnet Valley make it all worthwhile. Once you’ve enjoyed your woodland walk, the route brings you back to the canal and leads you to Consall Forge, where you can take a break and enjoy some delicious traditional pub food at the Black Lion Inn by the canalside. This lovely spot offers ample outdoor seating.

The canal continues into Cheddleton, where you will find the Churnet Valley Railway train station. From there, you can catch the train back to Froghall.

Follow the route here.

Click here for 7 wonderful Churnet Valley walks.

Enjoy a meal at the Black Lion Inn, Consall Forge

You’ll find the Black Lion Inn Pub in the heart of Churnet Valley. This cosy spot offers a fantastic selection of award-winning ales and ciders. The landlord is friendly, the beer is great, and its location by the canal and train tracks is fantastic.

Enjoy a meal at the Black Lion Inn, Consall Forge.

The food portions are hearty, especially the massive roast pork bap with fries. The atmosphere is friendly, with lots of happy faces and friendly banter. It’s best to book ahead because this pub is truly special, with its homely cooked food, family-friendly environment, superb location, and dog-friendly policy.

Visit Hetty’s Tea Shop

You can find Hetty’s Tea Room in the village of Froghall, Staffordshire. It is situated alongside the canal. Housed in a beautifully converted Grade II listed 200-year-old former warehouse at Froghall Wharf on the Caldon Canal, Hetty’s prides itself on using fresh, locally produced ingredients.

Hetty's Tea Shop.

The tea room is quite popular, and a sizable car park is next to the café. However, even if the car park is full, you may still be able to find a table inside, as the car park is often used as a base for walkers.

Hetty’s Tea Room offers a diverse menu, ranging from comforting soups to traditional afternoon teas and everything in between. Those searching for Staffordshire dishes can indulge in a selection of oatcakes with a choice of fillings and a wide variety of classic tea room options.

Did we mention they have a “cakeaway” menu option?

A journey on the Churnet Valley Railway feels like a step back in time; it’s a lovely nostalgic day out. Whether you’re a steam train enthusiast or simply looking for a unique way to explore the glorious Staffordshire countryside, the Churnet Valley Railway is a must-visit attraction. So, why not hop on board and create new memories to cherish?

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