- 125 years of rail services in the Hope Valley
It is 125 years since the first passenger train came through the Hope Valley. To celebrate this there will be a series of walks, talks, trips, exhibitions and other events between June and August centred near stations on the line. See Events Calendar.
- Our Annual General Meeting (June 2019)
was held on 12th June in Hathersage’s Lawrence Hall. It included an exhibition on the 125-year history of the line and talks on the Kinder Trespass, by writer Roly Smith and Katherine Clarke of the National Trust.
The Minutes are available here: AGM 2019 Minutes
- New timetable (May 2019)
The new Hope Valley Line timetable was introduced across the Rail network on the 19th May. There are few changes from the previous timetable.
- Hope Valley Capacity Scheme (updated May 2019)
The scheme consists of a new freight passing loop at Bamford and the redoubling of tracks through Dore & Totley station. It should improve reliability and capacity on the line for both freight and passengers.
It will allow Northern’s hourly passenger service to call at all stations. At present there are gaps in the service as trains miss out some stations to avoid blocking scheduled freight paths. Not all freight paths are used but Peak District quarries are becoming busier and transporting more stone and cement by rail, so more paths are being taken up.
The Capacity Order came into force in April 2018. Network Rail said that construction should start in 2019 and completion was expected in three years.
This was clearly over-optimistic, but there may be some progress. At the Northern Transport Conference in Manchester on 16th November 2018, the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, said:
”… let us also remember that the North is not just about cities. It also has some of the most stunning countryside in Europe. And a very important rural economy. That’s why we’re also supporting local railways like the Hope Valley line. Network Rail is proposing to modernise sections of the railway between Bamford station and Jaggers Lane Bridge in Hathersage. And around Dore and Totley station.
We are now updating the business case and anticipate being able to announce a delivery date in the next year.’
And in May this year, Network Rail issued a ‘prior information notice’ inviting contractors to express an interest in the procurement exercise for the Hope Valley Capacity. (Prior information notices are an early stage in the contract tendering process, allowing Network Rail to have discussions with interested suppliers about what should be specified in NR’s invitation to tender).
- Pacer Withdrawal (May 2019)
Pacer withdrawal is months behind schedule, due to unavailability of replacement stock. ‘Railway’ magazine reported that :
‘Plans to withdraw the first Northern Rail ‘Pacers’ at the end of September 2018 have missed their scheduled date by four months. The plan, published by the DfT, was for five two-car Class 144s to start the ball rolling on the withdrawal programme back in September, with all two-car sets out of traffic by January 5. That has not happened.
In parallel, the schedule was to retire from service five Class 142s by November 10 last year, followed by a further 19 sets by December 8, and nine more on January 5.
In all, 47 sets have missed their planned withdrawal dates. However, Northern has indicated its target remains for all ‘Pacers’ – 126 sets in all – to be withdrawn by the end of 2019.’
Meanwhile the Government is looking at how Pacers could be used. Community groups will be given the opportunity to put forward ideas on alternative uses for the trains this summer when a competition is launched. Any ideas?
- Transport for the North – a Strategic Plan (February 2019)
Transport for the North (TfN) officially launched their Strategic Transport Plan, which outlines TfN’s vision for transport investment in the North of England over the next 30 years. See Reports and Articles for more information.
- Station extensions (February 2019)
Grindleford, Hathersage and Hope stations will have their platforms extended by the end of 2019. They will then ba able to accommodate longer trains with more seats See the Network Rail Platform extension Programme for further details.
- New Ticket Vending Machines (January 2019)
Northern has produced a video on how to use the new Ticket Vending Machines which have been installed at stations along the line.