New lease for Colne Valley Railway means it may not have to leave Castle Hedingham base

An open day at the Colne Valley Railway, which was faced with having to move away from its home of 4

An open day at the Colne Valley Railway, which was faced with having to move away from its home of 40 years - Credit: Archant

A preserved railway which was faced with having to move lock, stock and boiler barrel from its home of 40 years may now be able to stay.

The Colne Valley Railway (CVR) based at Castle Hedingham was told by its landowner in January he wanted to dispose of the land it operates on.

The news put the whole existence of the railway in doubt – including the future of dozens of steam locomotives and items of rolling stock.

Management of the CVR, currently on part of the original track bed of the former Colne Valley and Halstead Railway, told its members during an AGM in March and then began the search for new premises before its lease expired at the end of 2015.

Now though the railway has been handed a lifeline – and may not need to move anywhere.

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Australian businessman Chris Young, who owns the land, has now decided to grant a one-year extension to the CVR lease and give the charity a chance to buy the land from him.

Paul Lemon, chairman of the CVR, said: “We are grateful to Mr Young for agreeing to sell us this unique section of the CV&HR track bed and for the extension to our lease on the present site.

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“This sale should enable us to fully achieve our charity’s main objective as well as remain open to the public during the transition period whilst we reconfigure the site.”

The purchase of the land relies on an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund made by the CVR which has already passed stage one approval.

The £1.2million grant, applied for before the bad news in January, would also provide two new buildings on the secured site; an interpretation centre and a skills centre.

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