All aboard for a steam revival

Steam Power: The 68013 steam locomotive arrives at Matlock station to transport passengers to Rowsley South station as part of Peak Rail's new service which reconnects the former line.
Steam Power: The 68013 steam locomotive arrives at Matlock station to transport passengers to Rowsley South station as part of Peak Rail's new service which reconnects the former line.

A STEAM train chugs into a sun-drenched Matlock Station – it’s a nostalgic, impressive sight not seen for decades.

Young and old step on board the waiting steam train, savouring the sights, sounds and smells of this majestic vehicle, as they eagerly anticipate the up-and-coming 20-minute journey through the stunning Derbyshire countryside to quaint Rowsley.

Steam trains haven’t run between the town and the village since 1968 – but now, all that’s changed thanks to the dedicated, hard-working volunteers at Peak Rail whose long-awaited plans, to rebuild the line between Matlock and Rowsley, have come to fruition.

Jackie Statham, joint managing director of Peak Rail, says: “For years we’ve wanted this – and now our hard work, our dreams, have paid off and come true.”

On board the steam train, as it sets off up the track for the four-mile trip to Rowsley South Station, scores of passengers are all smiles in the old-fashioned, charming carriages which evoke memories of a bygone age in these busy, modern-day times.

Retired Graham and Shirley Smith, from Matlock, are enjoying a day out with excited great-nephew Charlie, nine, and great-niece Eliza, seven, who live in New Zealand but are on holiday in Derbyshire.

The captivated youngsters say it is “absolutely fantastic” to be on the steam train.

Graham adds: “We’re so pleased to see steam trains back in Matlock after all these years – it’s just absolutely fantastic.”

For more information about Peak Rail, log on to www.peakrail.co.uk.

michael.broomhead

@derbyshiretimes.co.uk