Plan to reopen steam rail line in Buxton blighted by builder

Paul Tomlinson of Peak Rail
Paul Tomlinson of Peak Rail

Heritage train operator Peak Rail fear plans to reopen their old Buxton station for diesel and steam locomotives could be scuppered by a new development on land next-door to it.

The railway - which currently operates between Rowsley and Matlock - closed its Buxton station in the 1980s.

However Peak Rail would like to re-establish the Buxton branch of its association and see the line reopened between the town and Matlock.

Peak Rail sold a piece of land next to the Station Road site in 1992 - with covenants in place that access for heavy goods vehicles should be kept open.

However project director Paul Tomlinson told how plans approved by the council for a retirement village on the land had made no provision for heavy goods vehicle access.

Speaking about his ‘disappointment’ with site developer McCarthy and Stone’s ‘lack of willingness’ to discuss the issue, he said: “One of the covenants in place enables Peak Rail to have 10 metres of track from our site into the sold land to allow low-loaders to get rail vehicles in there.

“The covenants set out are not variable - we have informed McCarthy and Stone of the situation and they’re deliberating.

“But it seems their idea of access is a gate tacked onto the end of a carpark - if you’re operating a railway you have to provide access for heavy goods vehicles including emergency services.”

McCarthy and Stone have been contacted by the Advertiser but no-one was available for comment.

Though the Peak Rail line currently covers a distance of just four miles during the mid-1850s its Rowsley South, Darley Dale and Matlock stations were part of the Midland Railway route linking Derby and Manchester across the Peak District.

A public meeting organised by Peak Railway Association will be held at the University of Derby Campus on Buxton’s Devonshire Road on June 19 at 7.30pm.

The meeting will promote the formation of a new High Peak branch of the association for social and fundraising purposes and encourage members to become involved plans for a railway centre on its land at Station Road.

At the meeting Paul will give an update on both the proposals to re-open the railway line from Buxton to Matlock and the company’s initial ideas for establishing a physical presence in the town.