Economy, Transport and          Environment, County
    Hall, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4

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News Items

Visit New Mills Arts Festival by train 8th - 24th September 2017

New Mills Festival is a two week annual celebration of community spirit through a diverse range of activities from talks and walks to concerts, gigs, exhibitions, trails, quizzes and performances with a spectacular lantern procession through The Torrs Gorge ending in a Community Street Party in the centre of town.

More than 150 artists and 67 venues turn the town into a gallery! Artists from across the UK display their work in windows across New Mills for the duration of the two week festival.

Why not visit New Mills by train and leave the car at home?

The town is well-served by Northern Trains and benefits from two railway stations. Use New Mills Central Station on the Manchester Piccadilly – Sheffield line and New Mills Newtown Station on the Manchester Piccadilly – Buxton line.

Train timetables and fare information is available on the Northern Trains website:


Follow this link to view the New Mills Festival website for further information:


Improved Sunday train service on the Hope Valley Line

The Sunday train service has been extended this year by Northern to operate for an extra month until the end of October. An additional round trip has been added to the Sunday timetable, meaning that an All Stations Stopping Train will now run every hour from Manchester Piccadilly between 07.44 and 17.40; and from Sheffield every hour between 09.14 and 19.14. (Additional trains run later in the evening but not every hour.)

The full Sunday timetable for the Hope Valley Line can be viewed on the Northern website at https://www.northernrailway.co.uk/travel/timetables

Some examples of ticket prices are:

Manchester Piccadilly – Edale

Adult Off-Peak Day Return Ticket 11.10
Sheffield – Edale Adult Off-Peak Day Return Ticket 8.40
Manchester Piccadilly – Hathersage Adult Off-Peak Day Return Ticket 11.20
Sheffield – Hathersage Adult Off-Peak Day Return Ticket 5.60
On Saturday’s the train service is better with an All Stations Stopping Train running every hour from Manchester Piccadilly between 05.46 and 18.49; and from Sheffield between 06.20 and 20.35. Additional trains run later in the evening but not every hour. Ticket prices on Saturday’s are the same as stated above. Beautiful Edale on the Hope Valley Line
Beautiful Edale on the Hope Valley Line

News from Arriva about the new Northern franchise

Since the big announcement on December 9th 2015 that Arriva Rail North Ltd. had been awarded the new Northern rail franchise, the following is a summary of what has been announced for the Buxton, Glossop and Hope Valley Lines in the Community Rail Partnership area:

Buxton Line

     A half-hourly service for most of the day between Manchester and New Mills Newtown from December 2017

     From Manchester to Hazel Grove the service will improve to four trains per hour from December 2017 and on Sundays to two trains per hour all day

     Faster journeys will be introduced from Buxton through to Manchester with 7 to 10 minute savings romised. However, there is no detail yet on how this will be achieved if the same diesel trains continue to be used on the line.

Glossop Line

     The 3-carriage Class 323 electric trains used on the Glossop Line at the moment are expected to be replaced by refurbished 4-carriage trains in 2017. In turn, these will then be replaced in 2020 by new 4-carriage trains with more seats than the refurbished trains.

Hope Valley Line

     17 trains per day operated by Arriva Rail North are promised between Sheffield and Manchester in each direction. This is six more than currently run in today’s timetable. It is assumed that the six extra trains will not stop at all Hope Valley Line stations because Arriva state that “All intermediate stations will continue to receive a minimum of 11 trains per day each way.” It is also implied on a map released by the Department for Transport in December that some trains from Sheffield will run to Manchester Victoria, not Piccadilly. However, there is not enough information yet to confirm which trains these might be.

Also of interest to our partnership is good news affecting our neighbours, the station friends group at Dronfield Station:

     The Leeds to Nottingham service will be upgraded to become part of a new “Northern Connect” express network and will be equipped with new diesel trains.

     The Hull to Sheffield service will also be upgraded with new trains as part of the Northern Connect network and, between the morning and evening peaks, one service per hour in each direction will extend to Dronfield and Chesterfield.

Other commitments from Arriva

     Alex Hynes, Managing Director of the current Northern Trains business, has been recruited by Arriva to be MD of the new business when they take over the franchise on 1st April 2016. He’s credited with having done a good job over the last three years and is highly regarded in the rail industry, so this is very welcome news. It will greatly help to bring about a smoother transition from the old to the new business.

     Support for community rail partnerships and station friends groups is set to be stepped up under Arriva. They have appointed Professor Paul Salveson, one of the leading figures in community rail nationally, as their chief advisor and have committed to providing more financial support annually, although we don’t yet know the amount for our partnership.

     Ticket Vending Machines are planned to be installed at 243 stations with annual footfall above 3,000 passengers, so this should include all of ours which currently don’t have one.

     The Mobile Ticketing project already started by Northern Trains will continue to be rolled out so that our lines and all remaining routes will be included soon.

     The new franchise is built around growing the passenger numbers and maximising revenue, so more people will be recruited as on-board customer service and revenue protection staff.

News from First TransPennine Express

TransPennine currently serve a vital role on the Hope Valley Route by stopping some of their morning peak and evening peak express trains at Chinley and Dore on Mondays to Saturdays. Their new Managing Director, Leo Goodwin, has already assured the Partnership that these station calls will continue after the start of the new franchise on 1st April 2016.

Part of First’s commitment in their franchise agreement with the Department for Transport is to introduce a new fleet of 220 carriages across their network in two years’ time. When these trains come on stream, the Hope Valley Route will benefit because some of the displaced 3-car Class 185 diesel units will be used to double-up our trains to 6-car formations.

The new Manchester-bound platform proposed for Dore Station next year has been designed to accommodate 6-car trains and the Sheffield platform will be extended to 6-car length also.

TransPennine are promising “a 7-day timetable” across their network from December 2017 to reflect the huge rise in demand for rail travel on Sundays.

Like Arriva, TransPennine are also investing heavily in Mobile Ticketing and they have promised to launch a new range of discounted advance purchase tickets with effect from May this year.

Community Rail Partnerships (CRP’s) are also very much on TransPennine’s agenda. Closer contact and involvement with us is promised at a local level. Grant funding for mutually beneficial projects will become available from them, probably administered by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships and Rail North.

Hope Valley Route Capacity Improvement Project

In September 2015 Network Rail applied to the Department for Transport for a Transport & Works Act Order (TWAO) to gain permission to implement a route capacity improvement project.

The work they are proposing to carry out if the TWAO is granted is (1) the installation of an eastbound loop near Bamford Station to hold freight trains whilst faster passenger trains pass by; and (2) to install a second track at Dore Junction from the Midland Mainline on to the Hope Valley Line. This will remove the single track bottleneck at this location thereby allowing more trains to run and permitting better time-keeping.

Also part of the project at Dore is the building of a new platform for Manchester-bound passenger trains which is very welcome given the continuing healthy rise in passenger numbers – up by 5.4 % at 146,000 per annum in the latest Office of Rail & Road statistics to March 2015.

The High Peak & Hope Valley Community Rail Partnership sent a letter of support for the TWAO to the Department for Transport in October 2015 as the proposed work will deliver the capacity needed to allow the Hope Valley Line to have the comprehensive all year round hourly service which the Rail Partnership and many other local organisations have been lobbying for.

The latest news in March 2016 is that a Public Inquiry will be held starting on 10th May so that an Inquiry Inspector can hear the case for and against Network Rail’s application for the TWAO. The Rail Partnership has registered its wish to give evidence in favour of the Order at the Inquiry.

Following the Inquiry, the Inspector will draw up a report with a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport to approve or not approve the granting of the Order. The Inspector may also recommend that amendments are made to the original application in the light of evidence given by parties for and against the Order at the Inquiry.

If the Transport & Works Act Order is granted to Network Rail at the end of this year, work on the ground is likely to start in the summer of 2017 and take about a year to complete.

Passenger Surveys on the Hope Valley and Buxton Lines

The Community Rail Partnership is currently carrying out a travel survey on the Buxton Line and on those Hope Valley Line passenger trains which stop at the Hope Valley stations. The information gained from the survey will be used by the Rail Partnership for its work with Northern Rail, local authorities and local community groups to bring about further improvements to train services and station facilities.

Thank you to everyone who has filled in a paper copy of the questionnaire and returned it to the Derbyshire County Council survey staff on the trains.

It is also possible to fill in an online version of the travel questionnaire. Please click on either the link below to the Buxton Line Survey, or to the Hope Valley Line Survey, to give your view on the train services on those lines:

Buxton Rail Line Passenger Survey 2015

Hope Valley Rail Passenger Survey 2015

Once all the survey information has been gathered in and analysed, a copy of the survey report will be published on this website.

Buxton and Hope Valley lines recommended for electrification

At the beginning of March the “Northern Sparks” report on electrification in the north of England was published by the Department for Transport (DfT). The report was written by the Northern Electrification Task Force to advise the government which lines it should focus future investment in, so that rail links across the north can be improved to support local economic growth.

Thirty two lines across the north of England were assessed by the Task Force and electrification from Hazel Grove through to Buxton was assessed as falling in to Tier One – the highest priority group – with the Hope Valley Line ranked top of Tier Two.

The assessments made in the report will be used by the DfT and Network Rail in developing investment plans for the period 2019-24 and will of course be dependent on the availability of funding.

Clearly, even if approval is eventually given to Network Rail to carry out the work on our two lines, it is going to be several years before we see any groundwork start – but at least we are on the radar!




The base specification for the new Northern and Transpennine rail franchises was announced by the Department for Transport (DfT) at the end of February.

The new operator of the Northern franchise (which includes the three lines in the Partnership’s area) will start running services on 1st April 2016 for a nine year term, plus the option of one additional year.

The new operator of the Transpennine franchise (which includes a few trains stopping at stations on the Hope Valley Line) will also start running trains on 1st April 2016. This will be for a seven year term, plus the option of two additional years.

Both of the new operators are required to co-operate with each other in terms of operating passenger services for the Hope Valley.

Other general points from the franchise specifications include:

Better trains: all Pacers are to be replaced by 2020 and there will be a minimum of 120 new diesel carriages, plus replacement electric trains for newly electrified routes, and all remaining trains will be refurbished
Free wi-fi on all trains
Smart ticketing on whole network
Review of fares inequalities
Station investment, including a community station initiative
500,000 p.a. for the 18 Community Rail Partnerships in the Northern area
Plans to keep conductors on trains but in a more customer focussed role.

Local News:

Buxton Line: Extra off-peak Manchester - New Mills Newtown local service from December 2017, Mondays-Saturdays, allowing speeding up of the main off-peak Buxton service.

Hope Valley line: No possibility of improvement of Monday-Friday stopping service yet due to the existing capacity constraints but an improved Sunday morning service from December 2017. Northern and Trans-Pennine mandated to develop a proposal for better services when extra route capacity has been delivered by Network Rail [c.2018/19]. Saturday service Manchester-New Mills Central doubled to match Monday-Friday.

The Liverpool-Norwich service stays with East Midlands Trains for the time being. Trans-Pennine will work with stakeholders to develop acceptable proposals to transfer part of the service to Trans-Pennine after capacity improvements on the Hope Valley route have been completed.

Glossop Line. No change.

PLEASE NOTE:  This is the minimum franchise specification set out by the DfT. However, the three bidders for the Northern franchise – Arriva, Abellio and Go Via – have plenty of opportunity to offer more than this. The closing date for submitting their bids is 26th June 2015.

The Glossop station improvements were awarded a ‘Highly Commended’ certificate at the National Railway Heritage awards on 5th December 2012.  This is a prestigious award, and the station works did well to be shortlisted.  It is good to see the recognition for this important project.

Hope Station Footbridge

Work is approaching completion on the bridge at Hope station.  The footbridge there was in very poor condition. The was a considerable amount of rust on the structure, and the wooden decking felt unsafe to walk on.   Following a complaint from the Partnership to Network Rail.

A temporary footbridge was installed.   Then the old bridge was removed.  The bridge has been stripped and repainted, and will be reinstalled on site.  At the time of the last visit on Friday 11th January, the first parts of the old bridge had been reinstalled.  See pictures below.

Glossop Station Redevelopment wins First Place at
ACoRP Community Rail Award

The Redevelopment of Glossop Station, with its refurbished ticket office, waiting room and toilets, and the way it has opened up the core area of the station, has won first prize in the Station Development category at the ACoRP Community Rail Awards.  This is an imaginative and empathetic scheme that has provide much improved passenger facilities by bringing back into use derelict parts of the station that last saw use 50 years ago.

Not to be outdone, Network Rail made a huge contribution by renewing the canopy, roof lights and platform surface.  The station is now a gateway the community can be proud of.

The prize was awarded to the High Peak and Hope Valley Community Rail Partnership, Northern Rail, Network Rail, the Friends of Glossop Station and the Railway Heritage Trust.  ACoRP is the Association of Community Rail Partnerships.

Neil Williams of the Friends of Glossop Station won 3rd place in the Outstanding Volunteer Contribution category. Altogether Derbyshire Partnerships and station groups won nine awards.

Additional Hope Valley Services were launched on 12th December
this group launched the new 1814 from Sheffield.

Work Starts on Buxton Station Improvements

The Partnership has been working with Northern Rail and Network Rail, and Derbyshire county Council, with funding from the National Station Improvement Programme to achieve the following improvements to Buxton station:  

  • New lighting to be installed on platform 1.
  • Improved CCTV with additional cameras on both platforms.  The camera at the buffers end of platform 1 to be relocated.
  • Improved PA.
  • CIS – screens showing train departures.
  • Replacement of the fence behind the buffers.
  • New ticket window easier for disabled propel to use.
  • Redecoration of the booking hall.
  • Complete refit of the toilets and installation of a disabled toilet.
  • Repainting of windows and doors
  • Installation of a help point


Other work going on at the same time is:

  • Installation of a ticket machine on platform 2.
  • Refurbishment of the ticket office.
Work is now almost complete.

New Easier Access Area

(Harrington Hump)
installed by the Partnership at Whaley Bridge Station’

Improved Evening Service For The Hope Valley Line

We are working with Northern to introduce an additional evening stopping train each way between Manchester and Sheffield, which will provide an 1814 departure from Sheffield.  We are working to resolve some problems, and the details have not yet been confirmed.  The following paragraphs explain the details.

Northern Rail are planning to introduce an additional service through the Hope Valley in each direction in the evening peak from December 2011.  This will reduce two gaps from Manchester of 90 minutes to 60, and fill a two hour gap out of Sheffield with an 1814 departure.  Northern have worked hard to achieve this. One of the consequences of this is that there will no longer be 1718 from Manchester through the Hope Valley, this will be replaced by 1645 and 1748 departures, both existing trains which will be extended to Sheffield.  An unintended consequence is that the 1720 fast from Manchester may no longer call at Chinley – this is to accommodate a freight, 6E04/6E66. The freight operator has historic rights to operate this freight service through the Hope Valley in the evening peak, and to retime it is not a simple process.  6E04/6E66 is already being slightly retimed to make the 1814 departure possible.  There is a risk that the loss of these trains will lead to serious overcrowding on the 1743 departure from Manchester. 

Considerable effort has been made by the Partnership, the Hope Valley Rail User Group, Network Rail, the quarry operator, freight operators, Northern and other passenger operators to get to the situation where the additional services can run, albeit with some impact on stopping patterns of other services. We are working hard to solve the outstanding problems at Chinley, but this will not be easy.

Another possible consequence which we are working on is that the 1714 from Sheffield may no longer call at Dore. This is to accommodate the freight 6E04/6E66 through the single track at Dore station.

We have looked at other options such as extending the 1718, which will now terminate at New Mills, as far as Chinley, but we are advised that it cannot be done. Northern are working hard to provide a service from Manchester to Chinley around 1720.

These changes have not yet been confirmed by Network Rail, so some changes may be made to the details.

The underlying problem is that the line through Dore station is single track and cannot cope with the traffic. It was singled some years ago when traffic levels were lower.   The land is there to install a second track and this is recommended in the Network Rail Northern Hub report. To provide a second platform and footbridge for Dore station would be a major project.

The Partnership is keen to improve the evening service on the Hope Valley line, but is most concerned at the potential consequences for Chinley and Dore.  We hope that these can be resolved in time for the December timetable.  We would like to see Dore station redoubled at the earliest opportunity.

Friends of Glossop Station

Congratulations to the Friends of Glossop Station who won First Place in the 2009 ACoRP Community Rail Awards for the Best Station Adoption Group. See ACoRP's website for more information . http://www.acorp.uk.com/.

Buxton Station

The fanlight at Buxton station has recently been restored by DB Schenker, and now presents a most attractive approach to the station from the west. However Buxton station building is in poor condition and the front is boarded up. The land at the rear of the station is most unattractive at present and the old diesel depot is derelict. Network Rail is planning to refurbish the station building during 2010. The Partnership is working with other partners to improve the site as a whole and provide a better experience for rail travellers.

Whaley Bridge Station

Network Rail have recently announced plans to refurbish Whaley Bridge Station. The Partnership is working with other partners to provide a raised platform and to improve the car parking facilities.

Improved Evening Service For The Hope Valley Line

Following pressure from the partnership, Northern are planning improvements to the evening peak service from Sheffield. The plan is to provide an 18 14 stopping service from Sheffield to Manchester. This will fill a 2 hour gap which currently exists between the 17 14 and 19 14 departures, and make commuting into Sheffield by rail much more attractive. There are still obstacles to be overcome, but the improvement is expected to come into effect in December 2010.

Northern Hub Study Report. 

The Northern Hub Study was published by Network Rail in February 2010. It relates primarily to Manchester and the lines leading into it.  The study highlights the capacity problems particularly at Piccadilly station, on the route from Piccadilly through Oxford Road, and on the Trans-Pennine routes. The problems, although centred on Manchester, affect travel throughout the north of England. 


Northern Route Utilisation Study

Network Rail has issued a scoping report for the forth-coming Northern Route Utilisation Study (Northern RUS). The timescale mentioned in the report has already slipped as it was hoped to have draft conclusions in September 2010, with the final conclusions being presented for ORR review in Spring 2011. A draft report is expected in the spring of 2010 and this would be followed by a consultation period. This RUS will be of considerable importance to the Partnership as it covers all the routes in our area. Partners noted that most of the main issues seem to have been addressed already in the Northern Hub Study (see minute 06/10). However, there are potentially still capacity issues on the Hope Valley line, e.g. upgrading the signalling and the possibility of a loop at Hope, line speed/signalling and electrification issues on the Buxton line and infrastructure issues on the Glossop line that need to be considered as part of the wider remit of the Northern RUS

Plaque unveiled at New Mills Central following makeover for New Mills Central train station
(Click here for the whole story)

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