County Council leader welcomes full reinstatement of Derwent Rail Service through Long Eaton (May 2023)

Published on: Wednesday, 8th February 2023
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The reinstatement of a full seven days a week rail service from Matlock to Nottingham and running through Long Eaton Railway Station, has been welcomed by Derbyshire County Council Leader Councillor Barry Lewis.

Councillor Lewis added his voice to the campaign to have the full service on the Derwent Valley Line reinstated after it was suspended by East Midlands Railway (EMR) as part of cutbacks to 43 services at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. It briefly restarted again in May 2021 only to be cut back again shortly afterwards.

EMR blamed shortages of rolling stock, high levels of staff absence because of covid and operational issues for cutting the service.

The change to the service, which had been running since 2008, resulted in passengers travelling from Matlock to Nottingham having to change at Derby and seeing their journey times double as a result.

A petition calling for the service to be reinstated was launched in July 2021, gathering more than 10,000 signatures, with Councillor Lewis joining campaigners including Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire MPs, the Derwent Valley Community Rail Partnership (which is managed by Derbyshire County Council) and The Friends of the Derwent Valley Line, to call for the return of the service to its pre-pandemic level. 

Two well-attended public meetings were organised by Belper Town Council and the Derwent Valley Community Rail Partnership and Councillor Lewis met with EMR management at County Hall in Matlock urging them to listen and take action.

Councillor Lewis lobbied Government, writing to several rail ministers and Transport Secretaries in post since 2021, and in May last year he joined forces with Derby City Council Leader Councillor Chris Poulter to write to the then Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps, outlining the importance of the service to the area and calling for Mr Shapps to intervene to get it reinstated as soon as possible.

In May 2022 EMR reintroduced through services from Matlock to Nottingham again on Sundays and in December 2022 they introduced three morning and three evening peak time through services from Monday to Friday.

However, campaigners including Councillor Lewis, felt this did not go far enough and continued to call for a full reinstatement.

On 8th February, EMR confirmed that all day through services seven days a week are due to resume this May when the timetable changes again.

Councillor Barry Lewis said: “I am extremely pleased to hear that EMR is to reinstate the full through service between Matlock and Nottingham as its withdrawal has had a major impact on the area, our residents, businesses and visitors, with a knock-on to the local economy and our tourism trade.

“The effect on people’s everyday lives, for example getting to work or to school and college has been significant and has really taken its toll.

“Thanks must go to the officers at the county council who have used their expertise and worked very hard on this to ensure a positive outcome. 

“It’s to be welcomed that EMR has listened to the many thousands of people, groups and organisations, including Derbyshire County Council, who have called for this important service to be reinstated and it really can’t come soon enough.”

Local businesses have also welcomed the announcement.

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