Heritage Lottery Midland Mainline rail project seeks Dales volunteers

Pictured at the launch of the Tracking Our Heritage project, from left: Peak Rail trustee Roy Mackinlay, project team leader Catherine Croney, Mick Bond from the Peak Rail Association, chairman of the trustees David Lathrope, and project manager Richard Godley.
Pictured at the launch of the Tracking Our Heritage project, from left: Peak Rail trustee Roy Mackinlay, project team leader Catherine Croney, Mick Bond from the Peak Rail Association, chairman of the trustees David Lathrope, and project manager Richard Godley.

The organisers of a new Lottery-funded rail heritage project are appealing for Matlock, Darley Dale and Rowsley residents to help set the wheels in motion.

Tracking Our Heritage will train volunteers in how to conduct interviews, research historical documents, record information and present researched work as part of a planned exhibition and book.

Trustees David Lathrope, left and Roy Mackinlay swap memories of the former Midland Mainline station.

Trustees David Lathrope, left and Roy Mackinlay swap memories of the former Midland Mainline station.

Run by the Derwent & Wye Valley Railway Trust, the first phase of the project has just received a £10,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Project manager Richard Godley said: “We want to engage the local communities in uncovering local heritage based around the section of the former Midland Mainline mainline railway between Derby and Manchester.

“We will work with people of many ages, including school groups, so they can enjoy learning together through intergenerational events, to produce a timeline history of the railway.”

Initially, the project will involve recording the oral histories of former Midland Mainline employees and commuters, as well as the volunteers who revived the line as a heritage attraction after it was closed in 1968.

Pete Waterman, president of current line operator Peak Rail, said: “It’s important we don’t lose our history. The spoken word is some the best way to record events.

“People’s memories are fantastic and you find out stuff they would never write down.”

The project will also involve show and tell events, where people can bring along memorabilia, share stories and exchange memories.

They are planned for Saturday, April 28, 11am to 3pm, at Darley Dale Station Museum; and Saturday, June 9, 11am to 3pm, at the Matlock Town Council offices.