New hospital development ‘would not deter’ Buxton-Matlock rail line reopening

Paul Tomlinson, director of Peak Rail.
Paul Tomlinson, director of Peak Rail.

Peak Rail remains committed in its efforts to reopen the Buxton to Matlock railway line - despite plans for a new retirement village and £20m hospital.

The Advertiser reported last week how a partnership led by the NHS with other public sector bodies had agreed a deal worth almost £1.8m to purchase part of the old Buxton Water site next to the railway station in Buxton from Nestlé Waters UK.

The site of the former Buxton Water bottling factory on Station Road, which is to be the location for a new �20m hospital.

The site of the former Buxton Water bottling factory on Station Road, which is to be the location for a new �20m hospital.

The deal means almost two thirds of the Station Road site will be a new base for the NHS in a state-of-the-art building, with contracts exchanged for the other portion of the site with McCarthy and Stone to develop specialist extra care retirement accommodation.

However heritage rail operator Peak Rail says it still owns enough land to continue pushing forward with its own long-held vision of reopening the rail line through to Matlock.

Project director Paul Tomlinson said: “The new hospital is not going to deter us and plans to reopen the line still stand. It is 50 years since the line shut - which I think was a mistake - and I would love to see it reopened.

“We owned the land before Nestle did and sold a portion of it in the 1980s and another chunk in the 1990s, but we still own some and we still have plans to use it looking forward into the future.”

A petition calling for a new feasibility study to look into re-opening the line has already received 11,150 signatures, and Paul says people’s views should be listened too.

He said: “The line was never meant to be closed. It was not one of Beeching’s recommended closures, it was a set of accidental circumstances that saw the trains stop.

“It is such an interesting and beautiful line with so much history, and connects the north west side of Derbyshire.

Paul said meetings with Nestle were planned for this week, adding: “This year you can expect more news on what we plan to do with our portion of land on the site.”