Hope Valley Railway Users’ Group was reconstituted in September 2008 with the aim of improving the Hope Valley service. Our key objective is to increase the frequency of services that stop in the Hope Valley. We are a membership organisation, and currently have around one hundred members, most of whom are regular users of the Hope Valley line.
Surveys carried out by HVRUG clearly show that the railway is highly valued by residents and tourists alike, and that passenger numbers have been increasing despite the limited service. Data from the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR) also shows a 60% increase in passenger numbers in the last ten years. Four of the five Hope Valley stations register a passenger footfall of over 60,000 per year.
In 2012 HVRUG’s survey of Hope Valley residents found 60% of respondents would use the rail service more for both commuting and leisure, if there was a better timetable. HVRUG believes that this line has untapped potential to attract significantly more visitors to the Peak District, boosting the local economy whilst helping reduce the level of road traffic and parking problems. So we welcomed Northern’s May 2018 timetable which provides an (almost) hourly service to stations in the Hope Valley every day. This more frequent service should attract more users to the line to the benefit of all users.
Sadly our chairperson, Kath Aspinwall, passed away in autumn 2019. She had been an effective and determined campaigner for service and infrastructure improvements on the Hope Valley Line. We shall miss her. However, HVRUG is keen to see further improvements on the line. We want to see improvements to the service, including the elimination of skip-stopping so that the local services call at all stations, working ticket machines on all stations, a better system for the collection of fares and better management of car parking and better. At present, reliability is the biggest problem for the rail service in the Hope Valley. Over the last six months of 2019, all the Hope Valley stations were in the bottom 27 of all 2,636 stations in the United Kingdom in terms of punctuality and cancellations.