07-02-2011, 05:03 PM
Continuing on from my last journey from "Cromford Junction to Sheep Pasture Incline":thumb
- The track levels out for approximatly half a mile before ascending the third incline on this torturous route through the Derbyshire Dales, the 1 in 8 incline up to "Middleton Top".

At Middleton Top is the last surviving complete winding engine house built by the Cromford & High Peak Railway Co and still contains its original pair of beam engines, built by the Butterley Company in 1829, together with its boilers and imposing chimney.

The Winding Engine was the third one from the beginning of the line at High Peak Wharf on the Cromford Canal. The first two inclines achieved rises of 204 feet and 261 feet and Middleton lifted the line a further 253 feet to nearly 1,000 feet above sea level - and all in the distance of three and a half miles. Two more shallower inclines took the railway to its summit of 1,266 feet (990 feet above Cromford canal) before commencing its descent towards Whaley Bridge. Middleton incline was just over 700 yards long at an angle of 1 in 8, similar to the first two.

The incline ceased working in 1963 after the closure of the rest of the line by British Railways in 1967.
Today the original Beam Engines are still working and can be seen operating during the summer by a team of volunteers from the "Middleton Top Engine and Leawood Pump Group".

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Middleton Top Engine House. The boilers use to have a covered shed over them. The engine is now run on compressed air due to the boilers being a bit unstable:thumb

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The 1 in 8 gradiant of Middleton Incline, looking down towards Sheep Pasture Incline.

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Middleton Top Engine House with a line of wagons ready to descend, Circa 1958. The remains of the signal are still in place today.

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An old wagon that was used on the line forms part of the Heritage site that is Middleton Top:thumb

Leaving Middleton Top and heading off towards the next Incline - Hopton, there are numerous abandoned quarrys that are worth exploring not to far from the line, the biggest is Middleton Mine, with numerous gallerys and adits to explore! (next time I am up there perhaps):smile

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Soon the Hopton Tunnel comes into view and although short in length (113 yards long) the limestone tunnel, engineering has to be seen:thumb

Once out the other side of the tunnel the line flattens out onto a steadily rising embankment towards the infamous Hopton Incline! Along the way abandoned relics of the line can be seen:thumb

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This old boiler laying down on the embankment by the trackside is rumoured to be the remains from Sheep pasture Incline engine house. The area was known for its shortage of water and regular tenders use to come up by train to top up stored water for the use of engines.

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Remains of former sidings such as this rail/road aggregate hopper can be seen throughout the lines length.

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The start of the infamous Hopton Incline.
At 1 in 14, it was the steepest in Britain and trains frequently had to be split and pulled up a few wagons at a time.

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A saddletank locomotive gives its all:thumb as it tackles the Hopton Incline.

A top the incline is a set of cottages that once housed the Loco crews who worked the line.
From Hopton the line now levels out but steadily increases upwards towards Harbro Rocks. Here a nice big outcrop of rocks gives excellent views across the Dales towards Carsington Water on a clear day!

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Harbro Rocks and what appears to be a Mayan temple rising out of the ground:lol:
Very little is known of these abandoned mine buildings, I cannot find much out about them on the net, but they are worth exploring, also up in the rocks are numerous caves which possibly have entrances into the hillside. I only explored one cave and that started leading off into a very narrow passage, but rain from the night before had started to flood. so I did not go any further:( Another time perhaps:smile

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The steps that lead up to the sacrificial Altar:lol:

From Harbro Rocks the line passes numerous Lime kilns alongside the track with numerous remains of sidings which served them. until the line bends around and enters Longcliffe, here on the bend a more familiar land mark can be seen in the distance and visited Brassington ROC post:thumb

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Brassington ROC Post left of Pic, with the familiar WW2 Lookout post on the hillside:thumb

Our journey now ends at Longcliffe Station, here was originally located numerous sidings for the various quarrys and mines along the line. The only remains of the station left today is the Goods shed and the engine water embankment.

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Longcliffe, Engine Water embankment, with remains of the Buffer stops.

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Apologies for the quality of some of the photos but there was a 15mph wind blowing and up in this part of the Dales it was also freezing cold:coffee
Hope you enjoyed this trip along the line:thumb
Thanks for looking!