Peak Rail’s line is back on track

Volunteers have nearly completed work to link the line at Peak Rail to the Network Rail line at Matlock Station.
Volunteers have nearly completed work to link the line at Peak Rail to the Network Rail line at Matlock Station.

Dedicated railway volunteers have completed a major project – which will finally see stream trains chugging in to Matlock station.

The final piece of track has been laid and the long-awaited plans to extend Peak Rail’s heritage line have been completed, meaning the attraction’s steam and diesel trains will be connected to the rail network.

The project, which has been in the pipeline for several years, is set to bring a flurry of visitors to the town as the station hosts steam train excursions from across the country.

The work has taken three years to carry out and managing director of Peak Rail, Jackie Statham, said steam trains will be back in Matlock station after almost 50 years.

She added: “I think it will make a big difference to the area and will draw lots of tourists in.

“People can travel on the main line to Matlock and then change on to the heritage line to Rowsley and then on in to the Peak District.

“Heritage railways are getting very popular and it is a very nice run through the valley.”

The connection means Peak Rail can now achieve its dream of hosting main line charter services and rail tours from all over the country.

The first train to visit will be the famous Britannia locomotive, on Sunday May 22, when the Peak Forester rail tour from London’s King Cross will journey all the way to Rowsley South Station.

The new link will also enable contractors to start work on refurbishing the currently disused Platform Two.

Mrs Statham said: “We will be putting the platform back to how it was with old-fashioned styled lamps and traditional seats.

“We are then hoping to start work on putting the waiting room back in place.”

The railway is now set to start work on its project to reopen the line between Matlock and Bakewell and Mrs Statham said plans had been drawn up and a planning application was set to be submitted soon to extend the line to Rowsley village.

The railway will officially celebrate the milestone extension on Saturday July 2 with the inaugural run of the first steam hauled passenger train, since 1969, in to Platform Two at Matlock Station.