On the second day of our Peak District break we visited two separate restored railways – Peak Rail and Ecclesbourne Valley Railway – both of which have been extended during 2011.
Firstly, we headed to Peak Rail, which had a short extension from their Matlock Riverside terminus into the National Rail station in July 2011. Peak Rail was formed to restored the Midland Railway route between Matlock and Buxton after it closed in 1969. After many years of bases at Buxton and Matlock, a section of operational line was opened between Matlock and Darley Dale in 1991. In 1997 the line was extended to the south end of the former Rowsley yard.
We started our journey at Rowsley at the north end of the line. Southbound the train was hauled by number 68013, a 0-6-0ST. At Matlock the train passed the former Matlock Riverside station into the National Rail station.
The lack of run round facilities meant that a second locomotive was at the north end of the train to haul it back to Rowsley – class 31 number 31270. Following the trip on the train, we went to the picnic site to eat our lunch. Adjancent to the picnic site is the Derbyshire Dales Narrow Gauge Railway. This is a two foot gauge line from the picnic site round the back of the standard gauge sidings.
There are plans to extend the line northwards to the other end of the former Rowsley Yard, bringing the line closer to the village of the same name. To reach the former station is a more significant challenge as the bridge over the A6, which had a height restriction, has been removed and the the road raised.
- Pictures from the visit to Peak Rail on 18 September 2011
- Peak Rail web site
- Derbyshire Dales Narrow Gauge Railway web site
- Wikipedia on Peak Rail