© 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
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
Rudyard Lake Steam Railway