Peak Rail to steam into Matlock

Plans to extend a historic rail track into Matlock's mainline station have been given the green light.

The proposals, which have been under consultation for several years, will finally see Peak Rail steam and diesel trains chugging into Matlock's mainline station.

The heritage rail firm currently runs services on a 3.7-mile stretch of track from Matlock Riverside to Rowsley.

Managing director of Peak Rail, Jackie Statham, said: "We have been offered a 50-year lease from Network Rail to run into Matlock station. We have now got to refurbish the platform and get it up to scratch to run trains into there.

"It has been eight years – a really long haul. I thought we would never get there but our persistence has paid off.

"It will be lovely to see steam back in here."

Mrs Statham added Derbyshire County Council had offered a grant to assist with the refurbishment of the platform and Sainsbury's was going to provide an access ramp to the station's currently unused second platform.

Work, set to begin in spring, should be completed in 2010.

A spokesperson for Network Rail said: "The lease has been agreed with Peak Rail which is great news and a step in the right direction.

"We are now working with a track access agreement with them.

"There are several operational issues to be worked on as they are joining the main network but we are working on that with them."

It is hoped plans to restore the rail link will increase tourism in the town and bosses of the Dales attraction have spoken of their intention to reopen the line between Matlock and Bakewell, within the next ten years.

The move into Matlock station marks the first stage of these plans.