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Monsal Trail - Effect on the Railway Line

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What effect does the new route have on hopes to re-open the railway line in the future?

The new route has no negative impact on plans to reinstate the railway in the future. In fact it helps preserve the line. Current and future planning policies safeguard the route of the railway. We have previously supported opportunities to look at re-opening the railway line but for the time being it is not economically viable to do so. In the meantime the use of the route for cycling and walking is a positive alternative that supports sustainable travel.

If a proposal to re-open the line did come along, a difficult balancing act would need to be achieved between the benefits that a railway line could bring in terms of taking traffic off the roads and the impact that a line would have on the natural and cultural heritage and opportunities for recreation in the national park. The fact is that any extension of the line for steam, leisure or commercial reasons would involve substantial investment as well as discussions with Derbyshire County Council, the National Park Authority, other landowners and stakeholders along the way. In any case, detailed discussions would need to be held about the compatibility of trains and cycling so that a suitable way forward could be found.

Network Rail has recently published the East Midlands Route Utilisation Strategy which sets out detailed plans for railways in the region through to 2019. The reopening of the Matlock to Buxton Railway is not contained within these Plans for that time period, although it is mentioned within an Appendix to the Strategy as an aspiration raised by some stakeholders. Therefore, it is unlikely that the railway will re-open before 2019.

Why has the railway line not opened before?

In June 2004 an in-depth feasibility study carried out by Derbyshire County Council and partners, including the national park authority, looked at the issue of re-opening the line, but it concluded that the £100 million cost of the project would be too great for the foreseeable future.

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