Station Name: DARLEY DALE

[Source: Paul Wright]

Date opened: 4.6.1849
Location: The first station was opened on the south side of Station Road (B5057). It was re-sited on the north side of the road by the Midland Railway in the Spring of 1873.
Company on opening: Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midland Junction Railway
Date closed to passengers: 6.3.1967
Date Re-opened: December 1991
Company on Re-opening: Peak Rail
Present state: Station extant.
County: Derbyshire
OS Grid Ref: SK273626
Date of visit: June 1989, March 1992 & 3.10.2009

Notes: Darley Dale Station was situated on what became the Midland Railway’s (MR) main line between Ambergate and Manchester Central. Darley Dale Station was opened as Darley by the Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midland Junction Railway (MBM&MJR) as part of a line that ran from Ambergate to Rowsley. The station opened with others along the route to passengers on Monday the 4th June 1849.

The MBM&MJR was formed in 1845 with the single purpose of creating a line from Ambergate to Stockport. The company was backed by the Manchester and Birmingham railway in the north and the MR who had their headquarters in Derby. These two companies wanted to create a route between Manchester and London which would not rely on the
use of other companies railways. On the very day that the MBM&MJR was incorporated the London and Birmingham Railway became part of the London North Western Railway (LNWR).

The LNWR had a route to London from Manchester and so it had no interest whatsoever in a line that connected into the Midland Railway network so by 1851 it was obvious that the continuation of the line to Buxton was not likely to occur any time soon. The MBM&MJR found itself in financial difficulty and in July 1852 it leased its line to the MR and LNWR for a period of 19 years. This led to a period of stagnation and Darley station remained as a station on a branch line.

Darley station was originally located on the southern side of a level crossing that carried what became Station Road over the line. It would have consisted of two platforms with a stone building.

At the time of opening Darley was only served by 5 trains a day (and 2 on Sundays). One weekday service in each direction just called at Matlock Bath. Trains were operated by the MR from the very start.

During the late 1850s proposals were made by independent groups that would have seen a line built between Rowsley, the northern extent of the line, and Buxton. This caused the MR a great deal of concern and so they resurrected the original plan of the MBM&MJR to take the line on to Buxton. In 1860 work began and the line opened to Buxton in stages. When the line opened to Hassop on 1st August 1862 Darley was served by 5 Up and 6 Down trains (plus one in each direction on Sundays). However, the timetable for the opening of the line to Buxton on 1st June 1863 showed only 4 trains in each direction calling at the station on weekdays (but now 2 on Sundays). After 1871 when the LNWR and MR lease arrangement had expired the MR absorbed the Ambergate to Rowsley line into its ownership. With the northern terminus of the line now being at Buxton, Darley station became even more important and was served by more trains. Many express services including services that went on towards London St Pancras passed through the station without stopping.

In the spring of 1873 Darley was resited to the northern side of the level crossing so that more space could be provided for goods sidings. The new station was quite a substantial structure for a place the size of Darley at that time. No doubt this was influenced by Sir Joseph Whitworth of nearby Stancliffe Hall, who was a director of the Midland Railway from January
1870 to November 1873. The new station was erected by Joseph Glossop.   The main station building – in which the Booking Office was situated – was on the Down side and was  the larger of the two. Darley was renamed as Darley Dale on 1st October1890. (While the timetable [the official source of station names] did not show Darley as being renamed Darley Dale until 1st October 1890, the longer name was certainly used on paperwork and the like for some years prior to this. Tickets, for example, were certainly being printed with the name Darley Dale by at least 1880. The station was served by trains of a local nature such as stopping services that ran between Derby and Buxton and between Derby and Manchester Central. By 1891 the number of weekday service had only increased to 6 trains in each direction.

Goods facilities remained on the south side of the level crossing and including private sidings serving the Darley Dale and District Stone Company who had a mill nearby. To cater for the large quantity of stone shipped from the station Darley Dale had a 5 ton crane. To the north of the station the Stancliffe Estate also had private sidings constructed on the Up side immediately to the south of Church Lane Crossing signalbox in 1900 and replaced and earlier facility to the north of the box, also on the Up side. The new sidings were linked to a private line that ran to Stancliffe and other quarries. There is a pedestrian subway under the A6 road at Darley Dale where the line once ran. Traffic had ceased to use the line by the early 1930s.. A footbridge at the station and another at Church Lane Crossing, were provided in 1911.

In 1923 Darley Dale became part of the London Midland Scottish Railway (LMS) but little changed and the pattern of services remained the same.

In 1948 Darley Dale became part of the British Railways (London Midland Region). In the late 1950s and early 1960s the line was particularly busy as many Manchester services used the route as the former LNWR route, the West Coast Main Line, was being electrified at that time. Indeed in the late 1950s and early 1960s the Ambergate to Manchester Central line was also considered for electrification. From 1960 until 1966 the new Diesel Midland Pullman, or the ‘Blue Pullman’ as it became known ran along the line but it was an express service that did not stop at Darley Dale.

Much to the surprise of many the Ambergate to Manchester Central line was cited for closure in the Beeching Report. It was a very busy line but it was considered to be a duplicate route and therefore expendable. Darley Dale lost its goods service on 6th April 1964 and on the 6th March 1967 all of the intermediate stations between Matlock and Chinley, including Buxton’s Midland station closed to passengers. Just over a year later from the 1st July 1968 the line to Buxton closed completely. Track lifting began in 1969 but between Darley Dale and Millers Dale track lifting didn't start until 1st June 1970, with recovered material being removed via Matlock. . Darley Dale station became derelict but it was not demolished.

In 1975 a group was formed called Peak Rail. Their express intent was to reopen the line from Matlock to Buxton. They first had a base at Buxton but their efforts to run trains along the route of the line towards Matlock, part of which is still an operational railway at Buxton, were frustrated by British Rail. In 1987 Peak Rail acquired Darley Dale station (but not the down
side building) which they made their headquarters. By 1992 they had laid track as far as Matlock. By 1997 they had also extended their line north to Rowsley where they opened a station called Rowsley South.

Today Peak Rail operates train services that call at Darley Dale during weekends and holiday periods. Both platforms are now in use by Peak Rail. At the present time Peak Rail's only building is on the up platform; this contains an exhibition which is primarily of the line from Matlock to Rowsley South Junction, including Rowsley 2nd shed.. It covers MR, LM&SR and BR material. There is also a waiting room; other facilities include toilets with disabled access and parking for a small number of cars. In time Peak Rail are hoping to renovate the Downside building (via the Derwent Valley Railway Trust), which is currently owned by Derbyshire Dales District Council. Tickets must be purchased on the train however, as there is no longer a dedicated ticket office at the station.

The station also has a signal box (relocated from Bamford) at the southern end of the up platform adjacent to the level crossing. This signal box is merely cosmetic, with the crossing controlled by a crossing keeper's hut at road level (located on the down side, and across the road from the station). Part of the reason for this is the visibility required to operate the
crossing is unavailable from the raised signal box. In March 2008, the crossing keeper's hut was replaced by a more extensive traditional structure (albeit a new build). The latter has, in effect, split the operation into three controlled sections, permitting better timetabling and more efficient services, while also providing the necessary infrastructure to cater for extensions to the present line.

Darley Dale has a small yard south of the level crossing, on the up side of the line. This is used to stable some rolling stock and locomotives, most of which are undergoing restoration. Following the completion of Rowsley's Engine Shed, it is anticipated that the yard will effectively form the railway's Diesel Depot. The yard is not open to the public, except by prior arrangement.

The Derwent and Wye Valley Railway Trust are leading the project to reinstate the footbridge at Darley Dale, and ultimately to raise funds to restore the Down platform building. So far they have funded restoration of wooden fencing and installation of Midland-style lamps on the platforms at Darley.

Sources: Lost Railways of Derbyshire by Stan Yorke. Published by Geoffrey Kingscott & The Monsal Trail then and now by Alistair Lofthouse – Ald print.

Other web sites: Peak Rail now providing a regular steam service between Matlock and Rowsley. David Hey's Collection - Transition from BR steam. Includes railway photographer ER Morten's photographic tour from Buxton - Derby.

Eight and a half miles of the Matlock - Buxton line now forms the Monsal Trail starting at Coombs Road Viaduct, one mile southeast of Bakewell and finishing at the head of Chee Dale, about three miles east of Buxton. There is a diversion round the tunnels.

Further reading: Railway from Buxton to Bakewell, Matlock and Ambergate (Scenes from the Past) by JM Bentley, 1992. Railways around Buxton by JM Bentley, 1987.

Additional source Glynn Waite. Tickets from Michael Stewart, route map drawn by Alan Young

To see other stations between Manchester Central & Matlock click on the station name:Manchester Central, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Withington & West Didsbury, Didsbury, Heaton Mersey, Cheadle Heath, Hazel Grove (Midland), Buxworth, Chinley (2nd site) STILLOPEN, Chinley (1st site), Chapel-en-le-Frith Central, Peak Forest, Cheedale Halt, Buxton (Midland), Blackwell Mill Halt, Millers Dale, Monsal Dale, Great Longstone, Hassop, Bakewell, Rowsley (2nd site), Rowsley (1st site), Rowsley South PEAK RAIL, Matlock Riverside PEAK RAIL & Matlock STILL OPEN. See also Stockport Tiviot Dale & Stockport Portwood

Darley Dale station looking north west in July 1938
Photo by E R Morten from John Mann collection

A relatively new 'Peak' class No D19 (later Class 45/0 No 45025) heads a 'down' train through Darley Dale in November 1959
Copyright photo by ER Morten from the David Hey collection
Nottingham Class 4F No.44021 passes the site of the original Darley station with a train on mainly wooden-bodied coal wagons on 14th September 1957. Note the camping coach behind the signalbox and the splitting home signals of Midland Railway origin. The train is routed via the main line; the other signal is for the slow line to Church Lane Crossing.
Photo by E R Morten

Looking north at Darley Dale station c.1975

Darley Dale station looking north west in April 1979
hoto by Alan Young

Darley Dale station looking north west in June 1989
hoto by Nick Catford

Darley Dale station looking north west in late 1989, two years after Peak Rail acquired the station. the empty trackbed awaiting the rails and reinstatement of the level crossing, which happened
the following year. A new signal box (from Bamford) has been erected, the original box was on the south side of the crossing.
Photo by Alan Lewis from his Flickr web site

Darley Dale station looking north west in January 1990
hoto by Martin Potter

Looking north from the south end of Darley Dale Station in October 2009 by which date it had been restored by Peak Rail as part of their heritage line between Matlock and Rowsley.
hoto by Paul Wright

Click here for more pictures of Darley Dale station




[Source: Paul Wright]

Last updated: Wednesday, 17-May-2017 09:58:48 CEST
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