A group of Derbyshire organisations and individuals working together to re-establish a passenger rail link between Manchester and the East Midlands has taken the step to form an incorporated company limited by guarantee. MENRAP, The Manchester and East Midlands Rail Action Partnership is seeking the reinstatement of the line from Rowsley to Blackwell. This would allow through journeys from Derby and Buxton to Manchester via Bakewell and the Peaks.

Newly appointed chair Robin Greenwood is a well known community organiser in Matlock. He has long experience of bringing together disparate interests to work together to achieve a common purpose. He commented: “There are a lot of different interests to take account of in this project, but MEMRAP aims to find a solution that works for everyone. Our aim is to re-open the rail link between Matlock and Buxton for use by passengers, heritage trains and freight traffic. We look forward to working with Peak Rail, local businesses, local politicians, local councils and other stakeholders. One issue we are determined to address is finding a replacement route for the very popular Monsal Trail. The new route must be at least as attractive and accessible as the existing one. We have been exploring the local area and we are confident that this is possible – with the added advantage of enabling people to access the trail by train instead of having to use their cars.

Director John Harpur added: “This is also a fantastic opportunity to significantly reduce carbon emissions. As well as the inherent benefits of rail versus road travel, we are looking at innovative solutions such as battery powered or hydrogen powered trains.” Local businesses also stand to benefit, as director Stephen Chaytow explains: “We see this as bringing huge benefits to the local economy through better connectivity within the county and beyond. As well as safeguarding the businesses that currently rely on the Monsal Trail, we intend to make sure that other businesses in the towns and villages along the route also benefit.”

MEMRAP are keen to hear from local companies that may be interested to support their ambitions. They can be contacted as follows:

Robin Greenwood robin@om-shanti.org.uk

John Harpur on memrap2019@gmail.com

 

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