The Railway


Manchester / stockport to chinley


Our aim is to provide the capability for a service to operate to / from Manchester.  However we are aware of the constraints on capacity between Manchester and Stockport - made worse by the cancellation of the High Speed 2 Manchester section.


Our team is working on various options including a ‘turn-back’ at Stockport and other route options via Guide Bridge to Manchester and/or Stockport, plus the route via Hazel Grove. It is too early to commit to preferred options.


Further along the line at New Mills South Junction, we are developing options to improve capacity between the junction and Chinley Junction(s).  This would provide significant capacity and performance benefits for both the Hope Valley and Peaks and Dales lines.



Chinley to buxton


Our proposals include upgrades at Chinley, as well the between Chinley and Chapel en le Frith (Central) station.  We are proposing improvements to the access and egress for the private sidings at the quarries around the Peak Forest area, as well as the necessary upgrades to the existing mainline that passes between the quarry sidings.


Both Buxton and Peak Forest Junctions would be reinstated and provide the dual connection through the Chee Dale area.  The line through to Buxton from Chee Dale will be reinstated as a double track railway and options are being considered for a through station at Buxton.



Buxton to matlock


This section includes the section of route to Chee Dale and then onto the former railway line towards Matlock.  Our proposals for reinstating the mainline only use approximately 85% of the former railway land and most of the required land has already been protected from development.


The proposed line would be a double track mainline throughout, with additional lines at certain locations to provide passing loops (places) and for stations with more than two platforms.  This approach would enable the proposed frequency of service to be high enough to facilitate modal shift to rail from private cars.


Having a double track mainline also provides the operational contingency that a single line cannot provide in the event of a disruptive operational issue.





This section of the line currently has a limited service. Service improvements in terms of frequency are challenging because of the single track in use between Matlock and Ambergate. 


Our proposals include reinstating the double track between between Matlock and Ambergate and potential upgrades south of Ambergate Junction. 


An additional option includes the reinstatement of the Ambergate North Curve, which would connect to the Midland Mainline to/from a northerly direction.

the Stations

Our proposals include assessing all the closed railway stations along the route with a view to reopening as many of them as possible.


Reopening a station depends on a range of factors, not least how much public and stakeholder support there is for the reopening.


A key element of the business case for the re-opening of any of the stations is the development of the local travel plans to establish effective integrated transport solutions.


These would be developed with stakeholders which would enable a full review of available options for each station.  These may include the integration of train services with local bus services, taxis, and cycle hire, as well as private cars. 


Each station is envisaged to be a sustainable and accessible design, with 'level' access between the train and the platform. 


Whilst it is too early to be specific about the trains that would operate, we have set out our proposed outline specification, based on an assessment of existing trains and emerging designs.


This includes features such as:


  • high-capacity, with potential for up to 540 passengers, all seated

  • all the standard features such as wi-fi, charging points, air conditioning and toilets

  • significant increase in bicycle capacity compared to the current trains

  • accessible for ease of boarding and alighting

  • comfortable, reliable and efficient


Freight trains

Freight trains provide a significant opportunity to decarbonise surface transport, with one freight train being the equivalent of 76 heavy goods vehicle trips removed from the roads.


Whilst freight leaving the quarries is one of the potential rail users, our proposals also consider what other localised freight - for example parcel deliveries - could also make use of the Peaks and Dales line.


Our proposals also consider the ability to provide route access to both Peak Rail and excursion services.


Peak Rail has had a 40-year ambition to operate a service between Buxton and Matlock and our proposals include several options to support that ambition.  We also recognise that, as a non-mainline heritage operator, there would be some challenges in Peak Rail achieving that, but we do not consider these to be insurmountable.


Indeed, we are grateful to Peak Rail for the early engagement we had with them in discussing the way forward.  We are looking forward to re-engaging with them as we seek to identify new opportunities to minimise the impact on their current operation from the reopening of the main line.


We also are reviewing the existing and future excursion market that could support a significant growth in sustainable tourism.