A civil servant by day who has a passion for exploring what Great Britain has to offer in my spare time.
Published November 27th 2014
Step back in time on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway
Just one of the many ways in which you can admire the beauty of Derbyshire's Peak District is from the comfort of a heritage train. You can do just that on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway. Running between the village of Duffield and the beautiful historic town of Wirksworth, this is a railway which takes in some fabulous countryside.
A big advantage is that Duffield is served by the national rail network, with services operated by East Midlands Trains. The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway platform at Duffield is accessed by a footbridge from the main line platform. Although this is a very convenient way for getting to the railway, Duffield also has some limited parking for cars.
A Diesel Multiple Unit at Duffield station, Ecclesbourne Valley Railway
All trains, stations, carriages and everything associated with the railway have been lovingly restored by an enthusiastic group of volunteers who give up their spare time to run the railway for our benefit.
The majority of the rolling stock is diesel hauled and for much of the time is operated by ex-British Rail Diesel Multiple Units dating from the 1950s. Whilst not everybody's cup of tea (many would prefer a steam train of course!), I personally actually find these trains very nostalgic and comfortable to ride. The bonus is that, if you're lucky, you can sit at the front or rear of the rain and see the driver's eye view of the track.
Upon leaving Duffield, the terrain is quite gentle at first but as the train carries you along the line, you start to notice the hills getting bigger, more associated with the Peak District.
A view from the train on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway
You can break your journey at the intermediate stations should you wish. These are at Shottle (request stop only) and the village of Idridgehay. Both stops are convenient for walkers wanting to explore the countryside by foot.
Wirksworth is where your journey will end. However, for those inclined, you can alight from one train onto another waiting at the opposite platform which provides a shuttle service of half a mile to the highest point on the line, Ravenstor. For those who have a passion for steam, you may be lucky as this service is regularly steam hauled! As if this wasn't enough, Wirksworth also proudly possesses a model railway, museum of the line and a narrow gauge railway (running on selected days only) plus a well-stocked shop.
A steam locomotive at Wirksworth station working the shuttle service to Ravenstor