Moorlands steam railway forced to add more diesel services as coal price skyrockets due to war in Ukraine

By Jack Lenton

5th Jun 2022 | Local News

The railway has decided to add more diesel services due to the price of coal. Image credit: Churnet Valley Railway
The railway has decided to add more diesel services due to the price of coal. Image credit: Churnet Valley Railway

A steam railway in the Moorlands says it has been left with no choice but to introduce more diesel services due to the rapidly increasing price of coal.

Churnet Valley Railway said that the spike in price was caused by Government policy on coal and the recent war in Ukraine, which meant that the railway could no longer buy coal imported from Russia.

The popular local tourist attraction explained that they did not want to pass these increased costs on to customers, and so made the decision to switch to diesel services on certain days.

They added that this decision will be reviewed on a monthly basis.

A spokesperson for Churnet Valley Railway said: "As many of you will be aware, the supply of coal has become an increasingly complex matter in the United Kingdom. We have Government policies which are pushing for a complete ban on coal, whilst another part of Government is keen to see tourism return to pre Covid levels. Clearly for a Heritage Railway which operates steam locomotive that causes problems.

"The last operational coal mine in the UK which can supply locomotive quality coal has had a reprieve and we understand will be able to supply coal to the heritage sector imminently. The ongoing war in Ukraine has also prevented our usual supply of coal being available from Russia.

"In short, coal is currently in scarce supply which in turn leads to an upshot in price. We realistically cannot pass this on to the travelling public.

"In the last nine weeks alone the price of coal has increased 148%.

"We will for as long as possible continue to run our steam locomotives, however we are introducing some diesel only running days which we will continue to review on a monthly basis.

"Until this next review our Saturday services will be diesel hauled as well as our Friday 3rd June service. Where we have committed to a private charter with a steam locomotive then subject to availability we will honour this."

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