View Full Version : WALKING THE LINE Hassop to Millers Dale station Derbyshire Part 1 07/2011 Report

14-07-2011, 10:50 PM
This is one of the lines I have been meaning to do for a long time:thumb Inspired by a Jigsaw puzzle that BK got me for xmas:smile of a station called "Millers Dale" I had never heard of it?
Looking at the box the painting looks ficticious, as if someone had done it just for the Jigsaw puzzle.

But a little research, and the station use to exist! Now you have to admit it is a fantastic place, just look at those bridges:thumb

Over the weekend I found myself heading into the Derbyshire Peak District to find Millers Dale station.
The industrial archeology in this area is second to none, with abandoned Lime Kilns, quarries, stations, and tunnels galore:thumb

The history of the line can be found here:


The line opened in 1863 and closed in 1968 the line was just over eight and half miles long and went through 6 tunnels along its route five of these tunnels were sealed up after closure, but recently they have all been re-opened to form the Monsal trail Over the weekend I walked the entire line in both directions to record whats left and there is quite a lot:thumb

Here's some historic pics and of what can be seen today and explored at your leisure.

Starting at Hassop station (you can hire bikes here):thumb

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Hassop station was closed very early on in the lines history - 17th August 1942! The platforms had already been removed when this photo was taken.

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Hassop station buildings today play host to a bike hire centre and cafe for the Monsal trail.

Next station along the line is:

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Great Longstone station. The station buildings are now a private residence, but the trail continues through the trackbed.

The first of six tunnels is soon encountered Headstone Tunnel.

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The cutting leading up to the tunnel portal is imppresive and gives a good indication of what lays ahead in terms of Victorian Railway engineering:thumb The tunnel is just over 400 yards long, on exiting the other side you immediatly cross Headstone Viaduct (often misquoted as Monsal Viaduct)!

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With impressive views along the valley floor below. Remains of old telegraph poles pass by as you head on to the remains of Monsal station of which only the Platform and a permanent way hut remain.

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Soon Cressbrook and Litton tunnels hove into view:thumb both of which are just over 475 yards long. Today all the tunnels are lit for H&S reasons.

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Just before entering the approaches to "Millers Dale" station, this fantastic old telegraph pole stands buried in the tree line:thumb It still has its original earthing pots intact complete with the 'cut' phone lines:smile

Thanks for looking Part 2 to follow shortly which is impressive:coffee

14-07-2011, 10:53 PM
This is nice mate. Enjoyed looking through it

15-07-2011, 03:05 PM
The approaches to Millers Dale station are as impressive as they come:thumb Just pass the telegraph pole on the left the remains of the old Lime works can be easily seen through the bushes, with the remains of sidings leading up to the Lime kilns which stand above the station ripe for further exploration.

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The Lime kilns and the abandoned No.2 viaduct.


Nestling in the valley two miles south of Tideswell was Millers Dale, a village of no great importance until the railway arrived. Bestowed upon it was the honour of hosting the junction station for Buxton and the main line. The junction itself was a mile-and-a-half to the west, through three tunnels.
The interchange was a sprawling affair, built on a man-made ledge and boasting a main building with two platforms, signal box, goods facilities and sidings. It was approached from the south over a high, elegant viaduct comprising three iron arches.

Traffic levels soared - expresses, stoppers, coal, goods. More sidings materialised. A bay was built for Buxton trains. Refreshments satisfied the appetite. And yet none of this treated the crippling congestion which grew from a mix of conflicting passenger, freight and local quarry services. Something had to give.
And it did. In 1903 powers were granted for the formation of a double track loop, allowing slow and fast trains to run separately through the station. The project devoured £90,000 - £6.6million in today’s terms. A second viaduct rose from the river; the main building was demolished and moved north; the goods yard sprawled. On the 1st April 1906, a new Millers Dale opened for business.

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1904 and the second viaduct is taking shape. Note the lime kilns in use top left:thumb

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Today the viaducts are Grade II listed. The older one is still in use whilst No.2 has been abandoned to nature. They are maintained by British Railways Board who have to inspect them every year.

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To fully appreciate these viaducts though you have to leave the track and go down into the valley floor below. Photos are crap due to the vegitation that has taken control of the space! I plan to return in the winter for a better look:thumb

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Millers Dale in all its glory:thumb stuck onto a man made plateau This 5 platformed station was to be the hub of the line! This photo was taken from atop the Lime Kilns circa 1950's

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Attempts at trying to recreate the photo failed miserably, nature has taken over where once trains ran:( The abandoned No.2 viaduct is to the right.

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The jigsaw puzzle that inspired my visit:coffee
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At 21.16 on Sunday 5th March 1967, the last train pulled away from Millers Dale station for the last time for the short trip to Buxton. Above Photo taken in 1970: Like most lines it had succumbed to the Beeching Axe:( Shortly after, most of the station buildings were demolished.

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Today the remains of the station can still be seen with buildings on Platform 1 and the island platform that formed 2 & 3.

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Continuing on towards Millers Dale Junction you quickly come across the remains of a water tower buried in the undergrow that use to serve the trains that shunted in the sidings.

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Just pass the water tank the line crosses a small viaduct over the River Wye and then you encounter another Lime works by the side of the track. Impressive by its size and ugly shape, the remains of old buildings and remaining features lay buried in the undergrowth, ripe for exploration:thumb

The line levels out for a while and the magnificent stark limestone craggs tower above the line before you plummet back into a cutting that takes you through:

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Two tunnels at once within 200 yards of each other Chee Tor 1 & 2

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Chee Tor No. 1 Tunnel wall has been shaped around the limestone that it cuts through!

Once through Tunnel No.2! go around the side of the tunnel to inspect the heavy buttresses that were put into the side wall to prevent movement!

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Just the other side of the tunnel you come across Millers Dale Junction the line devides here and forms part of a triangle that use to have trains running up to Manchester and Wyedale. The Manchester spur (on the right) leads off across an impressive 4 arched viaduct before the line terminates 200 yards later at the bridge below:

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You are now in virgin railway territory! The trackbed which is still ballested continues along around the side of a limestone cragg and on into the wilderness! - unexplored as the path ends at the bridge:smile

The Wyedale spur continues on for another half mile before it to terminates at the 3 arched viaduct below:

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Once again beyond here you are in Virgin railway territory as the ballast dissappears into the undergrowth and the Monsal trail ends! The money simply ran out! It is hoped one day to link the Monsal Trail up with the Tissington and High Peak trails in the area.
But until then branch off at the viaduct, down into Wyedale and the river below, where a nice young lady has recently opened up a small bike hire centre. She also makes a lovely cup of tea:coffee
End of the story!
If you have got this far, well I hope I have explained it good? But you really have to get out there to fully appreciate this place to its full and admire the victorian engineers who dug this line out of the limestone rock!
Thanks for looking:thumb

A few links about the history of the line and stations:





15-07-2011, 03:48 PM
i like the history in there, the before and after stuff always adds a lot to it.

16-07-2011, 09:48 AM
Excellent research and photos there mate, I walked this many years ago before the tunnels were opened up, its great to see that you can walk through them now, and hard to believe that this was once a main line railway to Manchester from St Pancras, Damn that Dr Beeching!! Great report.

17-07-2011, 06:25 PM
Well interesting report, like the tunnel pics

crippletron 3000
17-07-2011, 06:27 PM
Superb stuff, I like reading stuff like this, nicely done :thumb

19-07-2011, 12:36 AM
nice report and history looks a real nice walk/ride too and all from a jigsaw! hope you get another soon :smclap

20-07-2011, 10:18 PM
Superb stuff, I like reading stuff like this, nicely done :thumb

Me too!

I'll have to cycle this one in years to come

20-07-2011, 10:48 PM
This is lovely, that's one of my weekends sorted...when it stops raining! Thanks for sharing:thumb