Age of Railways

 
Buxton Rail

Buxton is renowned for its architecture as we all know and can testify to, if you've been fortunate to visit. With a lot of the town still looking like it did when it was first built, the stamp of Sir Joseph Paxton can be seen as an influence throughout the whole area.

Once upon a time there was a railway station in Buxton, designed by Mr Paxton himself, when the age of railways came to Buxton during 1863. Two companies, the North Western and the London, whose line arrived from the north by Manchester, and the Midland Railway, which came from the south at Derby, had stations very similar in layout to the one in Buxton. Each one had a magnificent window, identically arched in stone, which bore the names of the proud companies across the top.


Today only the impressive window of the London and North West Railway company can still be seen and the Midland Railway station fell into disuse after the sad death of steam in 1968, when the line to the south-east was eventually closed. The station has long since vanished, but the remains of the site have also disappeared entirely due to the construction of the ring road which goes around the town centre. Left to be seen are a few MR posts, and the lower portion of the end wall and they give evidence of the company's presence within the town.


A third of Buxton's stations consisted of just a single platform, to the north of Lightwood road and just beyond the old railway sidings along the London and North West Railway line, known as Fairfield halt. They were constructed to serve the golf course on Fairfield common at the time but long after these companies came to Buxton, the London and North Western Railway decided it would make its own line to go south, to connect up with the North Staffordshire Railway company at Ashbourne and then go on to London thereafter. There was a viaduct built which crosses Spring Gardens and a magnificent feat of engineering, another viaduct, which spans Dukes Drive, South East of the town. There was also a former station, Buxton South, just before the line which crosses the Dale Road.

The site was situated opposite the new housing estate where St Anne's school once stood proud on Pevril Road. The line to Ashbourne was closed to passenger traffic when it was only just celebrating its 50th birthday. Although it continues to be used today taking diesel hauled trains along the track, carrying huge chunks of stone, which climbs towards the quarries at Hindlow, a few miles to the south of the town.

A railway existed a long time before the Midland Railway companies brought visitors to the area, a railway which sole purpose was bringing in stone from the quarries to sell to customers elsewhere in the north of the country, Cromford and High Peak Railway. This steeply inclined line ran all the way from the canal wharfe at Cromford and travelled 17 miles to the south-east of Buxton, onto Whaley Bridge in the North West we where traffic joined the peak tourist canal basin with the town. For a short time this Railway didn't carry passenger traffic because the line had steep gradients which the visitor can still see today.


There are three inclines, the Sheep Pasture, used the cable and change gravity system, the Middleton incline, which had an impressive steam driven winding engines ringing wagons laden with stone up and down, and towards the North West just above the Goyt Valley, there is another steep incline.


During the 1960s, it was hoped passenger steam hauled trips over the course of the old Midland Railway company track bed would be reinstated to the rail link Buxton to Matlock, Derby and beyond. Despite the huge amount of human resources and money which was spent trying to reopen this line, if built that those organising the project felt it would be best to do more the southern end, since their attempts to reopen the line were hampered by British Railways who owned the track at the time. Once more Buxton's old Midland Railway line owned by Peak Rail, stood patiently awaiting restoration, but unfortunately this never happened and nature took hold of the empty yard.





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