YouTube Finds 4 – Leek & Manifold Valley Light Railway

Another ‘YouTube Finds’ post, I am working on some modelling projects, honest, but they’re not developed enough to post about yet.

The Leek & Manifold was a 2’6″ gauge line running a distance of some 8 1/4 miles from Hulme End to Waterhouses and an interchange with the North Staffordshire Railway.  The line ran up a picturesque valley on the edge of the Peak District and was a common carrier hauling a little bit of everything, including standard gauge wagons on 2’6″ gauge transporter wagons!

There are a couple of videos of vintage footage on YouTube:

The line closed in 1934, having only operated for 30 years, a comparatively short life.

The trackbed is was preserved by the local council, but given a strange order placed on it when sold by the LMS it’s not possible to reinstate it as a railway.  Consequently the council have turned it into a cycle path – the Manifold Way.  On a recent holiday to the Peak District my wife and I spent part of a day cycling along it.  Sadly we didn’t get all the way along as we were time limited by the change we had and the parking meter at the old station at Hulme End!

Here are some images from the cycle path:

The old station at Hulme End has been converted into a visitor centre.

Many of the bridges still remain along the route as they are vital for the cycle trail. This is one of the medium sized ones, quite substantial looking!

Swainsley Tunnel is now part of the route of a minor road, but the mouths at both the entrance and exit are well preserved.

The trackbed follows the river Manifold for much of its length.

After a while the river disappears, leaving a dry bed - presumably due to the geology of the area. The dry bed is crossed by the largest bridge that we found on our cycle.

Thor's Cave, one of the most picturesque parts of the line. A halt was located here to allow passengers to alight and climb up to the cave.

More images from the cycle route are available here, hopefully we will get to return and ride the southern end of the line some day.

If you’re interested in the L&MVLR then there’s further reading on this very interesting site, including drawings of the stock and buildings.

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