When the Friends of the Derwent Valley Line was formed in 2005, the line had an infrequent (90min to 2 hour) timetable, renowned for poor punctuality and reliability. An early task was to prepare the Derwent Valley Rail Users Strategy (RUS)
to set out the case for significant timetable improvements. Then, working alongside the Derwent Valley Line Community Rail Partnership (DVLCRP), we have put constant pressure on the operators, firstly Central Trains, then East Midlands Trains to achieve these, with considerable success as can be seen below. As a result passenger numbers are booming, with a 94% increase in passenger journeys over 3 years according to a May 2011 DVLCRP press release
, and the line is amongst the best-performing local services in the UK.
1) A regular hourly timetable calling at all stations introduced throughout most of the day
- waiting time at Derby and a generous turnround time at Nottingham has ensured the hourly service has run very reliably.
2) Cromford and Whatstandwell stops reintroduced on all services
- the original hourly service introduced by EMT called at these stations only every two hours.
3) Earlier arrival of the main commuting serice from Matlock at Nottingham
- at a more attractive time for office staff, achieved by cutting down on waiting time at Derby..
4) Vastly improved conections into St Pancras services at Derby
- retiming of the hourly service in relation to the Sheffield-London service has resulted in a 7 min (cross-platform) connection at Derby instead of 46 min.
5) Improved late evening connections at Derby from London
- giving 30 minutes more (1925 to 2025) in the capital, Monday to Saturday.
6) Retention of the one daily main-line call at Belper
- EMT reversed their intention to withdraw this useful call (07.26 to Sheffield) with the introduction of the hourly service - see also our Further Aims
7) Additional Peak Hour Service from Ambergate
- departure Ambergate to Derby at 0656. Service to be introduced from 12 December 2011.
8) Increase in train formation and capacity
- on introduction of the hourly service, two out of every three services were worked by single car units even in the peak. After pressure from FDVL, all Monday-Friday services are now diagrammed for two cars (although the programme of refurbishment of Class 153's means that temporary reversion to single car diagrams has been necessary).
9) Providing a contact point and voice for passengers with the Train Operator
- anyone with issues can contact us via email or this website or by attending our two-monthly open meetings.
10) Undertaking Station Adoption Schemes
- In conjunction with EMT, FDVL members have adopted the stations at Belper, Ambergate , Whatstandwell and Matlock (the latter via Friends of Matlock Station). In addition we work with the adopters of Duffield (Ecclesbourne Valley Railway) and Cromford (Cromford Station Waiting Room owners)
1) Extend the additional morning Ambergate service to start from Matlock - to restore the third morning commuter service which applied under the previous franchise to the full length of the line.
2) Additional main-line services to call at Belper, northbound morning and southbound evening to provide for commuters to Chesterfield and Sheffield - our business case demonstrated the market potential of such additional calls and this has been partially achieved by East Midlands Trains adding a southbound stop in the evening to provide a balance to the one morning northbound call. We would like there to be 2 direct trains in each direction..
3) One main-line evening service ex Derby,17xx, to call at Belper to relieve pressure on 1650 Matlock service - now that all Monday-Friday branch services are diagammed for 2 cars, this less of an issue.
Note - train times quoted above were those applicable at the date of service improvement - some may have changed slightly since.