May Podcast – Trains, no boats and a plane

May Podcast – Trains, no boats and a plane

May Podcast – Trains, no boats and a plane

Written by Netta Christie on May 03, 2017

Our latest podcast develops a very particular train of thought!

As part of this month’s podcast we went to interview the Briddons at Darley Dale but perhaps Andrew’s blog explains it more clearly than I can.

“Most people collect things that are small and easily stored – like stamps. Others collect more esoteric things – Victorian glass bottles, beermats or similar. Not many people in the UK collect railway locos and full size ones at that!
Thanks to my father’s business, I was able to drive locos when aged 6, and by 12 I was quite competent enough to be left to drive while my father acted as shunter.
By age 13 I was campaigning for a loco of my own, and luckily my parents agreed, selecting a 30ton Yorkshire 0-4-0 diesel hydraulic on which my father’s firm had been carrying out maintenance”


Yes you did read all that correctly and amongst their collection is the RS8 loco.  This is an important train especially in the history of Tunstead Quarry.  The Briddons and Tarmac Tunstead will be working together to bring this train back to life.  In the 90th year of Tunsteads existence it seemed appropriate that the train that originally steamed in to the quarry in 1927 should be brought back to life through the skills of the young apprentices. This will not only be a labour of love but a remarkeable piece of engineering.  Our podcast reveals more information and how you can get involved.

Andrew’s blog


Our other interviewee is John Elvin known to most people as Tank.


His reminiscences of 36 years on the railways is fascinating and at times hilarious. Many local people will remember tank when he worked as a guard on the Buxton Manchester line often playing his harmonica.


His memories are vivid including urban foxes, peregrine falcons and work colleagues whose antics were somewhat eccentric. When Tank joined the railways in the early 70s he was surprised by just how old-fashioned it appeared.  There were still people in Higher Buxton recording wagon numbers in huge ledgers standing at high Victorian desks.




The picture above shows the two fan windows representing the two railway lines which used to come into the town.

Indeed the prosperity of Buxton owes much to the coming of the railways in 1863.  The glorious Midland railway line linked Derby and Manchester across the Derbyshire Peak District.  It must rate as one of the most spectacular lines ever to have existed in the country. This was mainly because of the terrain, numerous tunnels and other impressive civil engineering features including the magnificent viaducts at Millers Dale and Monsal Dale which  had to be blasted through limestone to create the line.



The Duke of Rutland who owned The Haddon Hall Estate was unwilling to allow the railway to cross. He demanded that the company went underground thus creating Haddon Tunnel which at 1058 yards is the longest between Matlock and Buxton;  in actual fact it is only a covered way being on average only 12 feet deep. A cutting would have sufficed to preserve the view from Haddon Hall, but the Duke did not want to see smoke and steam rising above his stately gardens..  The Midland line eventually closed during Dr Beeching’s cuts .. so sit back and let us take you on a journey back into history.



Written by Karen Naylor

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