Meet the man who wants to reopen the Buxton to Matlock train line

Paul Tomlinson director of Peak Rail
Paul Tomlinson director of Peak Rail

With uncles who were engine drivers, the director of Peak Rail grew up with a love of trains.

When Paul Tomlinson left college he felt no-one was taking an interest in the heritage steam line, so he and friends decided to relaunch the line.

Paul Tomlinson director of Peak Rail

Paul Tomlinson director of Peak Rail

The 67-year-old said: “People thought we were crazy and wanted nothing to do with it, but we never gave up.

“It took years to get all the authorities together but we got everyone on board.”

Paul stepped down from his role as director after eight years of being with Peak Rail, which operates out of Matlock Railway Station.

He then went on to work in environmental health in the public sector, dealing with housing projects.

He returned to Peak Rail after taking early retirement.

The former directors all returned to the railway within a couple of years of each other.

Paul said: “We all came back to the project with the same enthusiasm we had before,” he said, “but with less naivety and more experience.

“I absolutely still enjoy being involved with the railway.”

However, he said, it is important to have other interests outside of trains.

He said: “It’s healthy to have a variety of things that excite you, otherwise if you are too close to one thing you could lose your passion for which got you interested in the first place.”

Born and bred in Derby, Paul owns a season ticket to Derby County FC.

“When I’m there I don’t think about trains I’m just in the moment.”

He is also a massive baseball fan and supports the New York Yankees, although he has never been to see them play live.

Paul believes that over time people’s attitudes to heritage and steam lines have changed .

“Jobs have been created, track lines have been improved,” he said.

“The local authorities can now see that the power of steam is a huge tourist attraction which is bringing in massive amounts to the local economy.

“Steam is now a Pied Piper; just look at how many people are excited by the return of the Flying Scotsman.”

Paul hopes to restore the link

Paul is one of the driving forces to get the Buxton to Matlock line re-opened and believes it would be a massive boost to both towns.

“I am determined to get the line open,” he said. “It will attract tourists but we will also be able to provide a welcome commuter link and regular service which would be great.”

The Prime Minister announced in 2015 that £1 million would be made available for a rail for tourism innovation competition, funded by the Department for Transport.

This competition seeks to support more visitors discovering the UK outside of London with heritage and community rail.

Peak Rail has applied to try and secure a portion of the funding.

Paul said: “It would be great to improve the facilities we already have and it would be even better if we can expand our rail service further afield and reopen routes that are not currently working, such as the Buxton to Matlock line.”