In 2009 support for the CVR arrived in the form of Moorlands & City Railways Ltd (MCR), who acquired a 150-Year lease on the 8.5-mile Cauldon Branch, including trackwork at Leekbrook Junction, and with CVR’s assistance set about re-opening this as a freight route to the stone and cement quarries. Although at this point MCR failed to secure freight contracts, the line re-opened in November 2010 with weekend use by CVR Heritage passenger trains.
Unfortunately, during 2014 ownership changes at the Cauldon quarries meant MCR’s plans to move freight were scuppered - at least in the short term. Discussions with MCR led to a suggestion that given the slow progress with the freight option maybe CVR would like to purchase the lease.
CVR initially launched an appeal amongst its shareholders to ensure the retention of the Leekbrook to Ipstones section, but with further funds being provided CVR became able to buy the whole lease for the Cauldon branch from MCR, including both the land and trackwork at Leekbrook Junction.
The latter was significant in that it potentially gave the CVR the ability to extend north to Leek without the involvement of any third party other than the council. The council owned the final three quarters of a mile of former trackbed, running from the south side of Birchall Tunnel, heading North through to Cornhill, an area in Leek, just South of the original station site.
"Reconnect Leek" was publicly announced in 2013 following an extensive consultation process with all major stakeholders, including Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC).