Tuesday, September 06, 2016
Matlock Riverside and Peak Rail
One of the strongest candidates for a British railway line that should never have been closed is the Midland to Manchester through Derbyshire.
Today it survives at its southern end as a branch that reaches as far as Matlock, which allows you to explore the River Derwent and the Cromford Canal.
It is possible to travel a few miles further north thanks to the heritage line Peak Rail. This was founded in 1975 with the hope of reopening the line all the way from Matlock to Buxton.
That goal seems a long way off, but what exists at the moment of Peak Rail is very enjoyable.
Peak Rail usually runs all the way into Matlock station, using platform 2. You can see the station, with Riber Castle on the horizon above, in the final photograph here.
Peak Rail trains have a locomotive at each end, as there are no facilities for running round. When I last visited Matlock, however, the scheduled steam locomotive had broken down, so trains were drawn by a class 31 diesel and departed from Peak Rail's own Matlock Riverside stations a few hundred yards to the north.