News 7 January 2024

We’ve been shortlisted!

We're delighted to have been shortlisted for the 2023 Community Rail Network Community Rail Awards, for a partnership project with The Heights of Abraham.

About the project

For over 15 years, popular Matlock Bath tourist attraction Heights of Abraham have worked with us to offer a 20% discount to visitors arriving by train.  In summer 2022, the Heights of Abraham wanted to influence even more visitors to choose the train.

The project was funded by the Integrated Sustainable Transport in Community Rail Grant Fund and EMR’s Community Fund, match-funded by the Heights of Abraham.

The marketing project saw the creation of a short film which follows Victorian visitor Mrs Brassington starting her journey in modern-day Derby, getting the train to Matlock Bath. 

Mrs Brassington's Day Out

The video of Mrs Brassington’s Big Day Out was filmed and edited by David Thornton, Marketing Manager at Heights of Abraham with the support of his colleague Jess Farrington, Alexa Stott from EMR and Alastair Morley from the Community Rail Partnership.

Play Video

The campaign was launched on 25 July 2022 and ran throughout the summer holidays until 5 September 2022. The promotion highlighted an enhanced 25% discount for train passengers and included a printed leaflet and social media posts about the Mrs Brassington’s Day Out video.

The campaign received coverage on Radio Derby and in local news including Derbyshire Times, Derby Telegraph and Matlock Mercury.  The incentive was widely advertised on social media and online, and in a door drop to 120,000 households around Derby. 

Discount code holders were geo-mapped and it was found people had travelled further afield than expected, with Leicester a popular point of origin, outside the Derby target area. 


The number of visitors arriving by train doubled, with 1577 arriving by train showing their train ticket and using the discount code at the Heights of Abraham, compared to 833 rail discount visitors for the same period in 2021.  

The promotion helped increase Matlock Bath summer holiday passenger journeys. An estimated 15-20% of passengers to Matlock Bath travelled by train to utilise the 25% discount to Heights of Abraham – a great achievement for sustainability and reducing traffic congestion. It’s estimated that between 250 and 500 cars were not driven to Matlock Bath because of this promotion. 

The campaign featured as part of Heights of Abraham’s shortlisting for Visit Peak District’s Visitor Attraction of the Year and the promotional video continues to be viewed on our website and YouTube channel.

The Heights of Abraham saw a good return on investment; promoting rail travel makes sense commercially and it is fantastic for the Community Rail Partnership to work with an enthusiastic, professional and experienced tourist destination on the Derwent Valley Line.

We've been shortlisted

It was fantastic to see so many people travelling sustainably to the Heights of Abraham and Matlock Bath. We hope this was the beginning of a long-term confidence to use the train to visit Derwent Valley.

Now we’re delighted the project has been shortlisted for the annual Community Rail Awards. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the awards ceremony in March!

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