After recently supplying the Churnet Valley Railway with industrial fans, the Axair team got the chance to drive and fire a steam engine during a corporate day. They were given control of an American wartime locomotive under the instruction of volunteers Chris Simcock (driver) and Jack Ilczyszyn (fireman). The team climbed aboard the footplate in pairs to blow the whistle, shovel coal into the firebox, open the regulator and experience the power of steam.
The Churnet Valley Railway is a heritage line that takes visitors back to the classic days of railway travel. The route passes through beautiful countryside known as Staffordshire’s “Little Switzerland” and follows the path of the Cauldon Canal and River Churnet. The picturesque stations offer a range of visitor attractions and there is plenty more to see and enjoy along the way.
In addition to the eleven mile return journey along the valley between Froghall and Leekbrook, contrasting moorland scenery can be found on the nine mile round trip over the steeply graded Cauldon branch to the Ipstones Loop. The line was reopened in 2010 and climbs to over 1,000 feet above sea level, travelling over some of the steepest gradients in the country’s railway system.
As part of a development to enhance tourism in the Staffordshire Moorlands, the Churnet Valley Railway has plans to reopen the line to Leek. The original station was demolished in 1973 and a new station is proposed to sit alongside the canal marina.
Axair provided the railway with axial frame fans for their recently refurbished kitchen carriage which serves ‘The Moorlander’ dining train. Food is prepared, cooked and served on board whilst the scenery passes by, offering visitors a unique dining experience that is reminiscent of the halcyon days of on train dining.