Moseley Railway Trust is pleased to announce that its 6-year search for a permanent new site is over. Following the removal of the former Moseley Tramway from the grounds of Ridge-Danyers Tertiary College in Cheadle, Stockport, the Moseley Industrial Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Trust Ltd was incorporated on 21st April 1998. The Trust’s collection of around 40 narrow gauge industrial locomotives and extensive collection of rolling stock has since been in storage at its restoration site at Buxworth near Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire, during which time a number of important restoration projects have been completed. The most visible of these has been the WW1 Protected Simplex (on long-term loan from Leeds Museums and Galleries) restored in conjunction with the Channel 4 TV Series ‘Salvage Squad’.
An initial approach by the Trustees of the Apedale Heritage Centre near Newcastle-under-Lyme was made early in 2003, and agreement has now been reached to provide a new home there for the Moseley Railway Trust’s (MRT) museum and railway. The Apedale Heritage Centre (AHC) is run by the Apedale Heritage Trust, which is supported by Newcastle Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council; all three organisations have been most helpful in the negotiations. The AHC was created on the site of Apedale Mine, one of the last working coal mines in Staffordshire. Visitors to the Centre can take a tour of part of the former mine, and learn about mining and local industry in the Museum. There is also a café and the usual visitor facilities. Earlier in 2004, four MRT narrow gauge locomotives including an ex-mines locomotive were moved to the Apedale Heritage Centre and placed on display in the Museum there.
Central to the project has been the acquisition of land adjacent to the Heritage Centre, made possible by a joint purchase between the MRT and the Apedale Heritage Trust. Once the last formalities of the purchase have been completed, the Trust’s collection will be moved to Apedale. The Trust’s plans are already well advanced to construct a short running line of about 500 yards from the Heritage Centre towards Apedale Road. The formal planning application and line construction, estimated to take about 18 months from arrival on site at Apedale, will provide a passenger service along the edge of Apedale Country Park commencing sometime during 2006, and the Trust already has sufficient track materials to realise this objective. In parallel with this, the Trust will start work on planning for a museum to house the collection and display it to the public. It is expected that grant applications will be made to support this project, with construction work on the Museum starting by the end of 2006.
The Trust is pleased to recognise the help provided by the Trustees and others from the Apedale Heritage Centre, and officers from Staffordshire County Council, especially Steve Morris, and Joe Berman from Newcastle Borough Council in making this project a reality.