Station Name: MATLOCK
|Location:||At the end of a short approach road off Bakewell Road (A6)|
|Company on opening:||Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midland Junction Railway|
|Date closed to passengers:||Station still open as a terminus of a branch line from Ambergate.|
|Date closed completely:||Still open|
|Company on closing:||Still open|
|Present state:||Only the up platform is in use. The buildings on the down platform have been demolished and the track has been lifted. It is hoped that the Peak Rail service, currently terminating at Matlock Riverside, will be extended in to this platform.|
|OS Grid Ref:||SK296602|
|Date of visit:||4.10.2009|
Notes: Matlock Station was situated on what became the Midland Railway’s (MR) main line between Ambergate and Manchester Central. Matlock was opened as Matlock Bridge 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. (When the railway opened what is today termed Matlock did not exist. At that time Matlock Bath was referred to as Matlock in contrast to the other settlements: Matlock Bridge, Matlock Bank, Matlock Town, Matlock Green, and Matlock Cliff, which were later to become the single settlement of Matlock we know today. The two stations had to be differentiated, of course, so Bath was added to that at what was the main resort, while Matlock Bridge was appropriate for the other station, as that was the hamlet in which it was situated.)
Matlock Bridge station was located on the northern side of Matlock where the line emerged from a tunnel. The line was a double track railway and so the station was provided with two platforms which were linked by a footbridge which was added in 1875
The station’s main facilities located in handsome single storey stone built buildings located on the east side of the line, on the southbound platform. The main building had a pitched roof which extended out from the building to form a canopy. A second building situated a little further north along the southbound platform had a full canopy to protect passengers from the elements. Waiting facilities were also provided on the northbound platform.
Matlock Bridge became still more important on 1st February 1867 when the MR completed a line from a point just to the east of Buxton to Chinley. This line now gave connections to Manchester. From this point forward the line became a premier route connecting London to the important industrial provincial city of Manchester. After 1871, when the LNWR and MR lease arrangement had expired, the Ambergate to Rowsley line went into Midland ownership. By 1880 passengers could travel from Matlock Bridge to Manchester Central and to London St Pancras as well as to many local and long distance destinations in between.
Matlock Bridge was renamed as Matlock on the 1st July 1905. In 1923 Matlock became part of the London Midland Scottish Railway (LMS) but little changed and the pattern of services remained the same with many express trains still calling.
Much to the surprise of many, the Beeching Report, published on 27th March 1963, recommended that local passenger services between Derby and Buxton/ Manchester should be withdrawn, and all intermediate stations between Derby and Chinley should be closed with the exception of Matlock and Bakewell. The proposed closure of Bakewell was subsequently added in a legal notice in The Times of 31st October 1963.
A BRB meeting on 10th April 1963 gave a mandate for certain studies to be carried out on what were seen as duplicate routes. The findings subsequently appeared in a confidential report, dated March 1964, headed “Examination of Duplicate Routes – Trans Pennine”. This included the Derby to Manchester line, and while it could hardly be described as a Trans-Pennine route, it was part of a duplicate route between Manchester and London. One recommendation proposed the complete closure of the line between Matlock and Peak Forest Junction immediately after completion of the Euston to Manchester Piccadilly electrification, and the simplification of facilities between Ambergate and Matlock, with plans to be put in hand at “an early date”. The net saving was estimated as £142,400. This could not be made public, of course, as the Midland route was the principal one for London to Manchester passenger traffic while the Western Lines electrification was taking place.
In March 1964 notices were exhibited for the closure of the local stations, as recommended in the Beeching Report – the scheduled date of closure being Monday15th June. Like many proposed closure dates during that period, 15th June was not practicable and objections to the BRB’s proposals were not heard by the Transport Users Consultative Committee for the East Midlands until the Thursday of the same week. The recommendations from this enquiry then lay with the Minister of Transport for more than two years!
New electrified services were introduced between Euston and Manchester Piccadilly on 18th April 1966. At the same time, express services on the Midland lines were remodelled to cater mainly for passengers between Lancashire and the East Midlands rather than London.
On 14th September 1966 Barbara Castle, the Minister of Transport, finally ruled on the proposal to withdraw local passenger service from the line. Her decision was that the stations north of Matlock should be closed, but those to the south, with the exception of Matlock Bath and Nottingham Road, would remain open but be served by peak hour services only. This meant that Matlock station could not now be closed. The changes to the local services were introduced on 6th March 1967.
Now all that remained were eight express passenger trains in each direction that just called at Matlock, and a freight trip service from Derby that served Matlock, Rowsley and Bakewell.
In June 1967, the BRB made public its long expected plan to divert the expresses via Chesterfield and the Hope Valley Line. However, Barbara Castle’s ruling on the local passenger services meant that consideration had now to be given to those who used the express services at Matlock. The BRB therefore came up with the ingenious plan of running non-stop services between Matlock and Derby, which would connect into and out of some of the diverted expresses. While the line would be closed to the north, the cost of train operation would certainly increase. It was 11 miles further between Derby and Chinley via the Hope Valley (a further 9 miles was added later when services were diverted in and out of Sheffield), while there were now to be additional trains covering the 17 miles between Matlock and Derby. Although not envisaged at the time, this new service was later to benefit the intermediate stations, which are today served by more trains than at any period in their 160-year existence.
South of Matlock, the intermediate stations were destaffed on 1st January 1968, following the installation of electric lighting. Those who joined these trains at Matlock were also asked to pay on the train, but continued to buy tickets at the Booking Office when travelling on the non-stop services as these also provided First Class facilities.
Track lifting on the closed section of line commenced in January 1969, the intention being to work from Peak Forest Junction towards Matlock. Suddenly, on 22nd August the work came to a stand. Work on lifting the track between Darley Dale and Millers Dale restarted on Monday 1st June 1970, with recovered material being removed via Matlock. A notice was issued advising that on Sunday 17th February 1971, the line from bridge 35 at Matlock towards Darley Dale was to be brought back into use as a Research Department test track. Even this short section of track was not retained for long and towards the end of 1973 it was noted as being dismantled.
Sources: Rowsley : A Rural Railway Centre by Glynn Waite and Laurence Knighton, (Midland Railway Society), 2003 ISBN 0-9537486-2-6 and Cromford Station : A History by Glynn Waite, (Arkwright Society), 2009 ISBN 9780956270603. Both are available from the Rowsley Association.
Additional notes and photo captions by Glynn Waite/Rowsley Association. Click here for a more detailed history of the complete closure process of the Derby - Buxton/Manchester line.
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.
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, Darley Dale, Matlock Riverside PEAK RAIL
|Last updated: Sunday, 21-May-2017 15:38:54 CEST||
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