We visited the railway as the annual trip for our Model Railway Club. To start with, the website was inaccurate, misleading and difficult to navigate: the additional price for the extension line was out by 50p; the ticket was advertised as a rover, but that only applies to the section between Kingsley & Froghall Station and Cheddleton, which is the shortest section, the ticket for the extension was for one trip only; and it was difficult to find a timetable for the day of our visit.
On arrival we found that there was only one train running, not two as the diesel railcar had broken down and the timetable was such that having a rover ticket didn't work (although as a group we were able to negotiate a second trip on the extension as compensation). Access to the shed at Cheddleton was restricted to stepping through the door into a small display area. There is no access to the yard. This, combined with the speed with which the loco was run round the train gave very few opportunities for taking photographs.
On the return from our second trip up the extension there was a major warp in the track, which meant that we had to proceeded very slowly back to Froghall, although full marks to the driver and crew for getting us past the obstruction. I was not impressed by one of the volunteers who wanted to hold up an already late train to get a drink.In fact the whole operation seemed to be run on somewhat amateurish lines.
If you are going, the tiny museum at Cheddleton is worth a visit and it is worth paying the supplement to ride the extension as the scenery is good and the gradients mean that the locomotive has to work hard.
The cost of the trip was £18, which compared with the £17 return on the West Somerset Railway, for example, represents poor value for money.
The acid test; would I go again? No.
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