Whilst Mr Phillips’ letter of August 17 makes some very relevant points about the adverse effects of a possible re opening of the old Midland Mainline through the Peaks, there are a number of facts that need correcting.
I appreciate that the situation is very muddled, but I’m not sure where the idea of a terminus at Bakewell comes from, other than as an extension to the existing preserved line from Rowsley, certainly not from Buxton.
There are two, not necessarily competing, schemes. One is the long running and very gradual process of reopening it as a preserved line by Peak Rail, already running between Rowsley and Matlock. The other, as I understand it, which is the one currently in the news, is a reopening as part of the national rail network, between Matlock and Chinley/Buxton creating capacity to relieve the currently full Hope Valley line, and providing much faster journeys between the north west and East Midlands. This would obviously also provide a much needed local service between the towns and villages in the Peak and further afield. Whilst the original purpose of the Midland Railway in building the line to connect London with Manchester has now been replaced with the electrified West Coast Main Line, and in due course HS2, journeys from Manchester to intermediate cities such as Leicester, Derby and similar are slow and require changes of trains.
It must not be forgotten that the line only closed in the first place to satisfy the business case for electrifying the line to Euston, it was never a ‘Beeching’ cut, which therefore leads me to assume it was not obviously loss making. Mr Phillips makes comment about bike use being up 23 per cent in ten years, which is great news, but seems to pass off rail’s 100 per cent plus increase in 20 years as not relevant.
John H. Brook