The Rowsley Association

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[see ‘Rowsley : A Rural Railway Centre’ (Publications) for more detailed information]

16.07.1846 Manchester, Buxton, Matlock & Midlands Junction Railway Act for line from just south of Stockport to Ambergate. Backed by the Midland Railway and Manchester & Birmingham Railway (which became part of L&NW Railway on same date).

30.11.1846 Plans deposited for deviation from Rowsley to Hassop via Chatsworth Park, due to objections by Duke of Rutland. Turned down by House of Lords.

30.11.1847 Plans deposited for alternative route from Rowsley to Whaley Bridge via Baslow, Calver, Grindleford Bridge, and Edale. Branches from (north of) Rowsley to Bakewell and from Chapel-en-le-Frith to Buxton.

13.05.1848 Plan deposited for branch from Baslow to Bakewell to replace the one from Rowsley to Bakewell.

31.05.1848 Act passed for alternative route Rowsley to Whaley Bridge and branch Baslow to Bakewell.

04.06.1849 Line opened for passenger traffic between Ambergate and Rowsley, with intermediate stations at Matlock Bath, Matlock Bridge and Darley. Station at Cromford opened by August. Terminus at Rowsley built on road towards Chatsworth. There was a small one road engine shed at Rowsley. Line worked by Midland Railway.

20.08.1849 Line from Ambergate to Rowsley opened for coal traffic.

12.1849 Line from Ambergate to Rowsley opened for goods traffic.

17.06.1852 MBM&MJR leased to Midland and L&NW Railways jointly for 19 years. The Midland continued to work the line.

11.1856. Plans deposited by the North Derbyshire Railway for a line from Rowsley to Whaley Bridge, which was to follow much of the original MBM&MJR route via Bakewell. Scheme not passed by Parliament.

04.02.1857 Route via Chatsworth Park and Hope Valley to Whaley Bridge abandoned. Midland prepared to pay £200,000 and Duke of Devonshire £50,000, but L&NW not interested, as building to Buxton direct.

11.1858 Plans deposited by the Rowsley, Bakewell & Buxton Railway for a line following a similar route to that of the North Derbyshire Railway. Subsequently turned down.

10.11.1859 Plans deposited for Midland Railway’s own line from Rowsley to Buxton over similar route to original MBM&MJR in 1846 Act.

25.05.1860 Act for above line. Construction commenced around the turn of the year.

01.08.1862 Line from Rowsley to Hassop opened for passenger traffic. There was a new station at Rowsley and an intermediate one at Bakewell. The original Rowsley station (subsequently referred to as the Old Yard) became the Goods Depot.

01.11.1862 Line from Rowsley to Hassop opened for goods traffic.

01.06.1863 Line from Hassop to Buxton opened for passenger traffic. A curve at Ambergate which allowed direct running from Derby to Rowsley also opened on the same day.

01.07.1863 Line from Hassop to Buxton opened for goods traffic.

01.10.1866 Line from Blackwell Mill (north of Millers Dale) to New Mills opened for goods traffic.

01.02.1867 Line from Blackwell Mill to New Mills opened for passenger traffic. Access into Manchester gained by running powers over MS&L Railway

01.10.1867 Branch line from Duffield to Wirksworth opened for passenger traffic. (see next item)

09.11.1969 Prospectus published by Midland Railway for 9 mile extension of Wirksworth Branch to join the existing Rowsley to Buxton line 49 chains west of Rowsley station. This was to secure an alternative route for trains should the MBM&MJR lease pass to the L&NWR when it expired in June 1871.

02.1870 Announcement of agreement to sell MBM&MJR to the Midland Railway. Proposal to extend Wirksworth Branch to Rowlsey abandoned. Act passed 20.06.1870. Line became Midland Railway property 01.07.1871.

20.04.1872 Plans approved for two brick cottages on Derwent Lane (adjacent to later Rowsley South Junction).

Spring 1873 New station opened at Darley on opposite side of level crossing.

03.02.1874 Plans ordered for the construction of Rowsley Sidings. Included in the Midland’s annual General Purpose Act of 30.07.1874.

19.03.1877 Rowsley Sidings and new Up and Down Goods lines brought into use. [There is evidence of completed parts of the new sidings being used for marshalling purposes at least a year before the official opening].

05.12.1878 Contact let for extension of loco shed from one road to four, with addition of coaling stage. The work was carried out later in the year.

1880 Contract let for the installation of crossing gates worked from the signal box at Darley Dale station.

15.11.1881 Contract let for two cottages approximately 100 yards south of Derwent Lane.

c.1882 Darley Dale South signal box closed;

08.12.1886 Contract let for 25 cottages on Chatsworth Road, Little Rowsley.

11.08.1889 The Coal Line (a new arrival line) in the Down Sidings brought into use

03.11.1889 Rowsley North Junction signal box replaced with a new structure.

15.12.1889 Haddon signal box and Down lie-bye opened.

01.10.1890 Darley station renamed Darley Dale.

18.12.1890 Rowsley Up Goods line slewed (minor alterations made to the Sidings during the following year).

06.02.1891 Contract awarded for new subway at Rowsley station. Completed later in the year.

24.05.1891 Darley Dale signal box (formerly Darley North) replaced by a new structure south of the station.

05.1892 Both Sidings signal boxes replaced by new structures.

04.1894 Estimate of £150 submitted for the installation of crossing gates worked from the signal box at Church Lane Crossing.

16.05.1896 Contract let for a further 31 cottages on Chatsworth Road, Little Rowsley.

05.11.1897 Contract let for four cottages on Chatsworth Road, Little Rowsley, for the use of C&W examiners.

1900 Sidings for Stancliffe Estates traffic constructed between Church Lane Crossing and Darley Dale station.

Mid-1900 Estimate of almost £29,000 accepted for the construction of a new locomotive shed to accommodate 24 engines. While land was purchased at Darley Dale, nothing came of this.

12.05.1901 Up Slow line brought into use between Church Lane Crossing and Darley Dale station.

18.08.1901 Down Slow line brought into use between Church Lane Crossing and Darley Dale station.

03.10.1902 Estimate of £22,030 accepted for a new locomotive shed to accommodate 16 locomotives. Once again, this was not proceeded with. A private line was also constructed to connect with the firm’s quarries.

01.11.1903 Tests carried out at Peak Forest to determine the capability of a brake van in bringing a train under control should a coupling break between the engine and the first wagon. It was directed that trains with a trailing load in excess of 226 tons must have a bank engine in the rear as a safety precaution.

12.07.1905 Laying of 3ft gauge line from Rowsley Old Yard to Chatsworth Park commenced. This was in connection with building of an aqueduct from the Derwent Valley Water Board Reservoirs then under construction at Howden and Derwent and a covered service reservoir at Ambergate. The work was completed during the following year and the track recovered.

18.07.1906 The operation of ‘Double Mineral Trains’ introduced between Rowsley and Gowhole. This involved double heading of trains from Rowsley to Peak Forest with one 15 or 20 ton brakevan in the rear and one 10 ton brakevan in the rear, which provided the necessary braking capacity in the case of a break loose.

17.04.1910 Rowsley Station signal box closed.. A new Rowsley North Junction box opened a short distance to the north of the previous structure.

Mid-1911 Footbridges at Darley Dale station and Church Lane Crossing erected.

11.1912 Rowsley Control opened. This was originally located in a room on the Up side of Rowsley station, but was later transferred to the Sidings.

14.05.1914 Further estimate of £21,430 accepted for a new locomotive shed. Before work could be started, war had broken out.

18.11.1914 By this date 7,531 Midland Railway employees had joined the Forces, of which 3 clerks and 21 wages staff were from Rowsley.

20.06.1915 Rowsley South Junction signal box re-sited on the Up side of the line to enable a connection to be brought into use on the Down side leading to new Engineer’s sidings and the proposed site of the new Rowsley shed.

11. 1918 End of the Great War. 8 Rowsley staff are recorded as killed in action or missing presumed dead.

1919 A 2ft gauge line constructed from the Old Yard to enable timber to be transported fromLindup and Lea Moor Woods for the Canadian Forestry Corps.

14.12.1922 Contract let for the construction of the new Rowsley engine shed. The cost was to be £22,205.

28.06.1926 Rowsley new engine shed opened. Much of the work had been completed by 1924; the delay was partly due to the construction of the coaling plant.

09.09.1928 Extension to Rowsley Down Sidings opened increasing the capacity from 650 to 845 wagons. Rowsley Down Sidings signal box replaced by a new structure named Rowsley Down Sidings No.1, with a new box – Rowsley Down Sidings No.2 – controlling the extension sidings.

05.03.1930 Determined that the loading of Down freight trains from Rowsley to Peak Forest must not exceed a Class 4F’s load without the assistance of a banker for safety purposes.

20.07.1933 Express Dairy loading premises south of Rowsley station officially opened.

19.08.1935 Rowsley shed brought under the control of the DMPS at Derby and allocated code 17D.

1937 Darley House and Hooley estates added to ‘calling up’ area within which footplate staff were expected to live.

01.08.1940 6.35am Darley Dale to Derby stopping train introduced. The passenger guard was based at Darley Dale (a further two passenger guards were based at the station to cover other services, but were withdrawn at the end of the war).

1941 Land at ‘Cow Pastures’, which had been purchased in 1898 as a possible site for an engine shed and had been concerted to a sports ground by the staff in LMS days, leased to the Ministry of Supply and Firth Derihon’s Works subsequently constructed on the site.

24.05.1942 Firth Derihon’s Stamping Siding opened.

07.1942 Trainmen’s relief cabin opened at Rowsley South Junction.

1944 Canteen opened in part of the messroom at Rowsley shed.

End of War The compliments of footplate staff, goods guards and locomotives at Rowsley gradually increased during the war years due in the main to the transfer of work from urban areas which were subject to enemy bombing. By the end of the war, the increases were around 75%.

early1946 GTD Osborne appointed Rowsley’s first Yard Master.

1948 Rowsley Control closed. Essential work transferred to an enlarged Derby District Control; certain clerical duties to the Yard Master’s organisation.

04.04.1950 Proposal for 8ft roadway from Church Lane Crossing to Rowsley shed. This scheme was continually deferred and eventually abandoned in 1957 due to the cost involved.

28.07.1951 The employment of Callers-up discontinued. Remaining duties undertaken by shedmen.

1956 Rowsley shed canteen closed.

late1955 New by-pass line laid at Rowsley which enabled turn-back engines to reach the turntable without passing over the ashpit. This was given the nickname of the ‘Burma Road’.

22.11.1957 Alternative walking route agreed through the ground of Tor Farm and down the main line footpath between the crossing and the shed. Hitherto, the only authorised route was over the crossing by Rowsley South Junction.

04.1958 Rowsley shed allocated code 17C on the transfer of Coalville shed from the Derby District to the one at Leicester.

23.04.1958 Rowsley Station Master & Goods Agent Derek Hoyle also took over the duties of Station Master & Goods Agent F. Clayton of Darley Dale on the latter’s promotion. This arrangement led to a review of the possible closure of Rowsley station being deferred.

1959 Rowsley shed given new roof. The work started in February and was completed in October.

11.07.1959 Two 350hp shunting locomotives allocated to Rowsley, although never actually transferred.

25.10.1959 Rowsley station closed on Sundays during the winter period.

11.11.1959 Marginal allowances agreed for diesel shunting locomotives. Some men, at least, were sent to Derby for training during the following week.

02.1960 Report published on the dieselisation of the Midland Lines. It was proposed that a diesel depot be constructed at Rowsley, with limited maintenance facilities for 7 Type 4 and 13 Type 2 diesels and heavy maintenance facilities for diesel shunting locomotives.

31.03.1960 Locomotives and men’s diagrams issued for proposed diesel shunting turns in the Sidings. The LDC, although not opposed to the scheme could not agree to single manning on one of the Upside pilots. Subsequent correspondence ended on 27.06.1960. Diesel shunting locomotives were never introduced.

23.04.1961 Block switch installed in Rowsley North Junction signal box and box closed between 5.50am and 10.0pm on Sundays.

02.1962 A further scheme produced for a diesel depot on the Engineer’s Sidings at Rowsley.

29.01.1964 It was announced at a periodic meeting of the Traffic Department LDC that a decision had been made to close Rowsley Sidings. Detailed plans were produced during February and included the withdrawal of banking locomotives. A number of staff would be retained for the re-manning of through freight trains. The target date for closure was 23rd March.

12.03.1964 Formal consultation meeting for the closure of the Sidings and the withdrawal of baking engines. Reference made to the BOT trials of 1903 and the DOS Derby instruction of 1930 regarding the safety aspect of banking. As a result, it was agreed that banking locomotives should be retained. Rowsley Sidings would still close.

c.03.1963 Station Master Geoff Hoyle transferred to a similar post in the Birmingham area in October 1963. Duties at Rowsley and Darley Dale stations are then covered by a Relief Station Master until this date, when Rowsley station and Old Yard come under the control of the Station Master at Bakewell and Darley Dale comes under the control of the Station Master at Matlock.

06.04.1964 Darley Dale Goods Depot closed.

27.04.1964 Rowsley Sidings are closed.

04.05.1964 Rowsley Up Sidings signalbox taken out of use.

04.05.1964 Rowsley shed loses its allocation of locomotives. Those that remain for banking and local passenger duties are outbased from Derby. Cromford and Sheep Pasture become sub-sheds of Derby; Middleton becomes a sub-shed of Buxton.

12.05.1964 Agreed that Rowsley Sidings could be used for the stabling of empty mineral wagons and wagons of loco coal.

15.06.1964 Proposed date for withdrawal of local passenger services between Derby and Manchester and the closure of most intermediate stations. This included Rowsley and Darley Dale.

16.08.1964 Rowsley Down Sidings No.2 signal box closed.

20.12.1964 Rowsley Down Sidings No.1 signal box taken out of use.

05.01.1965 Steam locos replaced by Type 2 diesels on banking duties. An additional 18 staff made redundant.

16.04.1966 The railway cottages at Rowsley sold to Matlock UDC.

12.09.1966 Remaining clerical work at Rowsley station transferred to the new Station Manager’s organisation at Matlock and the post withdrawn.

03.10.1966 Freight trains diverted from the Peak line and Rowsley Depot closed. Rowsley South Junction signal box closed; Rowsley North Junction signal box reduced to one shift operation. Around 140 staff made redundant. Some footplate staff transferred to other depots. Two goods guards secured jobs in that grade; others transferred to local stations as porters – only to be made redundant again 5 months later!

06.03.1967 Local passenger services withdrawn between Derby and Manchester and most intermediate stations closed. This included Rowsley and Darley Dale.

01.07.1968 Passenger services via the Peak line diverted via Chesterfield and the Hope Valley line. Rowsley and Bakewell Goods Depots closed, which resulted in the complete closure between Matlock and Peak Forest Junction.

07.07.1968 Rowsley North Junction, Church Lane Crossing and Darley Dale signal boxes closed. They remained open for a few days after the official closure of the line to allow the remaining wagons in Rowsley Old Yard to be unloaded and ‘returned to traffic’.

All the above photos were taken by 'Photo Joe' Elliott, who was a Rowsley Goods Guard.

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