© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011 A couple of years ago, we had paid a most enjoyable visit to the Rudyard Lake Steam Railway (see "Steeple Grange and Rudyard Lake". This fine 10¼" gauge line is built on the trackbed of the North Staffs Railway's Churnet Valley route, along the eastern shore of the lake. With a fine sunny day in prospect, we took a ride up to Rudyard, with the main intention of a walk around the lake - oh, and a quick look at the railway too... We parked at the railway's Rudyard station, and joined the 2.20pm departure for Hunthouse Wood, the far terminus, hauled by "Merlin". Last time we visited, another similar, though slightly smaller, loco was present - "River Churnet". The latter had been away at the Exmoor Steam Railway's workshops, for a rebuild with a larger boiler and a few other modifications, but was due back soon - this afternoon, in fact. And bang on cue - minutes before departure, the rebuilt loco "Excalibur" arrived! We had a very pleasant walk - perhaps about four miles from the far terminus back to Rudyard station, and soon left the crowds behind. We could see and hear the train across the lake, and quietly wondered whether Excalibur would be in steam yet. Sure enough, steam had been raised, and after a few posed photos with a couple of wagons, Excalibur's first run took place. Double heading with Merlin, on the last scheduled train of the day, the pair made a fine sight on the bank away from the station. The line operates weekends and bank holidays throughout the season, with a 40 minute interval service. On bank holidays, two trains operate, passing half way, on a 20 minute interval. The public footpath around the lake runs alongside the line - and the sun is the right side for photography too! What more could one ask! Link: Rudyard Lake Steam Railway  ...a walk around the lake... "Excalibur" poses with freight wagons Excalibur and the depot, Rudyard Excalibur and Merlin, Rudyard The double header - ready for departure Excalibur's first train leaves Rudyard station