Peak Rail

Peak Rail is a preserved railway operating timetabled steam services for tourists and visitors to the Peak District and the Derbyshire Dales. It currently runs for a little under 4 miles between Matlock Riverside and Rowsley South. It remains the intention of Peak Rail to extend their operations northwards to Bakewell and beyond, incrementally as time and resources allow.


In 1968 the former Midland Railway main line from London to Manchester (originally built as the Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands Junction Railway), was closed between Matlock and Chinley in Derbyshire, including the branch to Buxton. In 1975 the Peak Railway Preservation Society took matters in hand and, after opening a Steam Centre at Buxton (Subsequently sold to a supermarket chain for redevelopment), by 1991 had reopened the section of line between Matlock and Darley Dale. In 1997, this was extended to half a mile short of Rowsley village, with a new station constructed next to the site of the former goods yard at Rowsley South. Several railway preservation groups are based at the latter, often working in support of and cooperation with Peak Rail. For further details see Rowsley South railway station.

Motive Power

Operational Steam Locomotives

*RSH 0-6-0ST No. 7136 (Carries No.WD150 "Royal Pioneer")

Steam Locomotives Undergoing Restoration

*LMS 2-8-0 Class 8F no. 48624 - Nearing end of restoration, boiler removed for tubing and steam testing before reassembly, painting and running. Not expected to steam until 2009.

Steam Locomotives Undergoing Overhaul

*RSH 0-6-0T No. 7597 "Zebedee" - Work ongoing, frames being repaired and wheels away for re-tyring, boiler in very good condition.

Stored Steam Locomotives

*W.G.Bagnall 0-6-0ST No. 2746 (Carries bogus BR No. 68012 "The Duke")
*Hunslet 0-6-0ST No.3888 rebuilt from 3163 [Fox, Peter & Hall, Peter; Preserved Locomotives of British Railways, Platform 5, Sheffield, UK, 11th Edition 2002, pp. 66–67] (Carries bogus BR No. 68006)
*Vulcan Foundry 0-4-0ST No. 828 "Vulcan" (works number 3272 [Industrial Railway Society; Industrial Locomotives, Industrial Railway Society, Melton Mowbray, UK, 14EL 2006, pp. 63–64] )

Operational Diesel Locomotives

*BR 0-4-0 Class 01 no. D2953 [
*BR 0-4-0 Class 02 no. D2854
*BR 0-6-0 Class 03 nos. 03099 and D2199
*BR 0-6-0 Class 04 no. D2284
*BR 0-6-0 Class 05 no. D2587
*BR 0-6-0 Class 14 no. D9525
*BR A1A-A1A Class 31 no. 31270
*BR Co-Co Class 37 no. 37152
*BR 1Co-Co1 Class 44 no. D8 "Penyghent" [

*BR Co-Co Class 47 no. 47635
*BR Co-Co Class 55'Deltic' no. D9016 "Gordon Highlander"
*BR 0-6-0 Class 97/6 no. 97654

Diesel Locomotives Undergoing Overhaul/Restoration

*BR 0-6-0 Class 03 nos. D2118, 03113 and D2139
*BR 0-6-0 Class 04 no. D2229 and D2237
*BR 0-6-0 Class 11 no. 12061
*BR Co-Co Class 37 no. 37188
*BR Co-Co Class 50 no. 50030 "Repulse"

Stored Diesel Locomotives

*BR 0-6-0 Class 03 nos. 03027 and 03037
*BR 0-6-0 Class 04 no. D2272
*BR 0-6-0 Class 07 no. 07013
*BR 0-6-0 Class 14 no. D9502
*BR Co-Co Class 50 no. 50029 "Renown" (Cosmetically restored)

Ongoing Projects

The Engine Shed project has been ongoing for six years. Of April 2008, the roof and wall cladding is in place, many internal elements have been fitted, brickwork had progressed substantially and roller-shutter doors are about to be brought into operation. A revised completion date for the Engine shed is now Spring 2009. The Turntable at Rowsley South is also near to being operational, and is currently awaiting official inspection.

Negotiations for the lease of a further mile of trackbed to the North have finally resulted in a 99-year lease on the trackbed from Rowsley South to Rowsley village, whilst discussions regarding access to Matlock station Down Platform continue. Work on reconnecting Peak Rail to Network Rail metals is currently on hold until full agreement has been reached on an Access Strategy and Method of Working for Peak Rail's services.

In late February 2007, the railway's 'Two-Train Running' project reached fruition and was approved by HM Railway Inspectorate. Through improvements to infrastructure and signalling, this project allows "two" trains in steam on the line, utilising a refurbished and extended passing loop at Darley Dale. The advantages of this enhancements has allowed the working of freight and passenger services on Special Event Days, with multiple passenger workings to follow in future operating seasons.

Future Developments

Essentially the former Manchester main line as it is can be considered in four sections:

From London via Derby to Ambergate Junction as the Midland Main Line

Overlapping this from Derby to Ambergate and on to Matlock as the Derwent Valley Line.

Peak Rail operates a section from Matlock to Rowsley and has an interest in the line onwards through Bakewell to Buxton station. From there, the line could follow the former LNWR line to Manchester although through trains would have to reverse, or extend from Millers Dale on its original route, to join the still-existing line to Chinley on the Hope Valley Line.

In 2004 Derbyshire County Council published a study which concluded that reopening the line for a local service was technically feasible and that the track bed should remain clear of development, but not an economic possibility in the near future.

Meanwhile the Derwent Valley Line, it is said, has been allowed to deteriorate both in infrastructure and quality of service and in 2005 a document was published by the Friends of the Derwent Valley Line, assisted by the County Council, arguing for improvements to the current service. Network Rail has stated its intention to carry out necessary repairs in 2008, which includes the strengthening or rebuilding of three bridges on the branch. Structural reviews took place early in 2008 and the work is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

See also

* Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands Junction Railway
* Monsal Trail


External links

* [ The Peak Rail website]
* [ Today's Railways February 2007 article on Peak Rail, by kind permission of Platform 5 Publishing]
* [ The Peak Rail Volunteering website]
* [ Peak Rail's Signalling Department website]
* [ Friends of the Derwent Valley Line]
* [ County Council Feasibility Study Derbyshire County Council (2004) Derby to Manchester Railway Matlock to Buxton / Chinley Link Study. Main Report, Volume 1A: Version: Final. "This report also has detailed plans of the line."]

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