Stoke to Leek railway line.
How it looks now: a stretch of the Stoke to Leek railway line at Stockton Brook.

Stoke to Leek rail line: Clarify timescale and how it will be funded, say council and business chiefs

2 mins read

Council and business bosses are calling on the Government for more details about the decision to re-open the Stoke to Leek railway line – as well asking for a funding plan and time scale to be shared.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on Wednesday that the reinstatement of the line was among local transport improvement projects to be funded following the scrapping of the northern leg of HS2.

Mr Sunak said that all £36 billion saved from not proceeding with Phase 2 from Birmingham to Manchester, via Crewe, would be spent on transport schemes across the West Midlands and North.

In 2022, partners – including Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council ­– developed an outline business case for reconnecting Leek to the national rail network by reinstating services on the line.

This followed a successful £50,000 bid to the Restoring Your Railways fund in 2021 to carry out a feasibility study into re-opening the route.

The District Council has cautiously welcomed the fact new train services could return to the Moorlands town but has asked for more detail.

Council Leader Mike Gledhill, said: “The Council welcomes the announcement regarding the proposed Leek to Stoke rail link. We now need to see what the specific funding package involves and how the Government proposes to future proof the scheme against inflation and other factors.

“We hope to hear soon about details of timescales, planning implications and operational matters so that we can be assured of the viability of the project, its impact and sustainability.”

Councillor Gledhill added: “The creation of an upgraded network of public transport across the Moorlands is a priority for the Council.

“The rail link has the potential to be a significant part of that alongside much needed improvements to bus services across our three towns and the rural areas to meet local needs, boost our local economy and improve our quality of life.”

The last time trains ran on part of the line was the late 1980s – now tracks have become overgrown.

Similarly, the leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council has written to Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper calling for clarity on funding and a timeline.

Councillor Jane Ashworth also made the point that while she cautiously welcomed the Stoke to Leek rail line, improved and additional bus services shouldn’t be overlooked as they would have a positive impact for people.

Tom Nadin, Head of Projects and Business Services at Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, added: “A comprehensive funding plan and clear and transparent timescales for the Stoke to Leek line are crucial to ensuring the region’s transportation needs are met. As our communities grow, so does the need for efficient and sustainable transportation links.”

The original Leek to Stoke line was opened in 1864 but passenger services were slashed as part of the Beeching Cuts in the 1960s.

Freight trains continued to run on the line to reach quarries at Cauldon Lowe and Oakamoor up until the late 1980s.

The existing mothballed route runs from Stoke Station (where it could connect to the West Coast mainline), via Fenton, Bucknall (next to Lime Kiln bank), Milton, Stockton Brook, Endon and through to Leek.

The re-opening of the line is part of re-allocation of HS2 funding plans reported in Daily Focus. It would also see a new station built at Meir and the refurbishment of Longton and Kidsgrove stations, and major road schemes including enhancements to the A5, A50/A500 corridor, M1 and M6.

Nigel Pye

Experienced journalist with a 30-year career in the newspaper and PR industry and a proven record for breaking stories for the national and international press. Nigel is the Editor of Daily Focus and Head of Creative at i-creation. Other work includes scriptwriting, magazine and video production, crisis communications and TV and radio broadcasts.


  1. I agree that this money would be better spent repairing the roads in the area and addressing the lack of public transport across the whole of the city. What freight would be travelling between Stoke and Leek and where would Leek station go?

  2. No wonder that nothing is ever done in this Country, there are always so many negative people with negative attitudes. If the Government says the money is there to re-open the line then grab it and get on with it. As for freight traffic, well, the quarry and cement works at Waterhouses is a good starter! As for Leek Station, try asking the Churnet Valley Railway. They are spending a lot of time and effort to reinstate it.

    • My house is sits only 20 meter from the train line . Is it fair after living here for 3 years I will now have a busy train line make noise where beautiful trees and nature now stands. Who is going to commute from leek to stoke ? A few hundred people if that ?
      Spend the money on better things like roads.

      • When you bought your house you would of been told it was a mothballed line and there was always a possibility of it re-opening

      • It would not be a busy train line if it was an hourly service and how can you complain about living next to any railway line when you reserve the right to drive your polluting car past other peoples houses.? You are just a selfish and hypocritical NIMBY.

      • Hourly trains in daytime and none at night should not be a problem. The key question I you should be asking is how close are you to a station as that is almost certainly likely to enhance property values as it will make commuting to Stoke so much quicker.
        Back in the 60’s, before we had a car, we lived near Endon station and my dad worked in Stoke. He didn’t leave our house to go to work when he saw them close the level crossing gates. After Beeching he had to leave nearly an hour earlier and change buses in Hanley..

        Whole thing sounds good to me.
        Enthusiasts for HS2 ignore the fact that, a bit like flying, it is the time spent ‘in the tails of the journey which define journey time and for living in Leek the saving on time to get to Stoke station to catch a train to London will far exceed and time savings which HS2 would have generated on the Stoke to London leg of the journey

  3. Yes it would be great to see the railway line again, busses aren’t that great and take you miles out of your way to get to places with much more direct, if the money really there stop moaning and going backwards. We need more traffic off the road not on them.

  4. When you bought your house you would of been told it was a mothballed line and there was always a possibility of it re-opening

  5. Trains ran on the track until 1988 and it was a disused railway line, the track is still there and not removed as a railway line. Still owned ny Network Rail. Householders have no reason for complaint it was there before them

  6. The only way this line is opening, is as a steam railway line, perhaps seasonal. No way is it operating as a commuter train.

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