The Churnet Valley Railway is a heritage line on part of the former North Staffordshire Railway that was opened in 1849 and lost its passenger services in 1965, although it remained open for freight trains carrying limestone and sand until 1988. The copper industry of the Churnet Valley was once of great importance and the limestone quarries at Cauldon Low were some of the most productive in England.
The preservation body, Churnet Valley Railway PLC, was formed in 1992, and the first trains under its auspices ran in 1996. The society’s engine shed and museum are located near Cheddleton station which remains in its original nineteenth-century condition. The railway’s administrative headquarters is at Kingsley & Froghall station. Trains are regularly operated between Cheddleton and Kingsley & Froghall station to the south, but on some days in the year they also run north to Ipstones on the line that once served the limestone quarries at Cauldon Low. The distance from Kingsley & Froghall to Ipstones is 16.9 km. The line is notable for its use of S160 type 2-8-0 locomotives which were built in the United States, sent to England in 1942-44 and used on railways in Britain until they were shipped to the Continent after the D-Day invasion in June 1944. Subsequently they worked in many European countries. Several are now preserved in Britain. One is kept on the Churnet Valley Railway and from time to time others appear there for special events. Other locomotives are borrowed from private owners and trusts.