Station Name: BUXTON (Midland)

[Source: Paul Wright]

Date opened: 1.6.1863
Location: West end of the viaduct that crosses B6049
Company on opening: Midland Railway
Date closed to passengers: 6.3.1967
Date closed completely: 6.3.1967
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland Region)
Present state: Platforms extant and some buildings extant. Other buildings including the goods shed have been retained as shells.
County: Derbyshire
OS Grid Ref: SK137732
Date of visit: June 1989 & 2.10.2009

Notes: Buxton Midland Station was situated on what became a branch of the Midland Railway’s (MR) main line between Ambergate and Manchester Central.

The station opened on the 1st of June 1863 on a MR line from Rowsley to Buxton that had been authorised in May 1860. Ever since the 1840s there had been a desire by the MR to reach the important industrial town of Manchester. Inter company rivalry, finance and landowner objections had all delayed things and it was only the possibility that rival companies might build a route between Derby and Manchester that finally moved the MR to get their Act of 1860. The line between Rowsley and Buxton was only the first stage in the MR’s ambitious plans.

Buxton had became a popular spa town in which some fine buildings had sprung up since the beginning of the 19th century. When the town's leaders became aware that two railways, promoted by two different companies the MR and the London and North western (LNWR), were heading for their town they became concerned that the character of the place
would not be damaged. To preserve the towns character they engaged the famous designer Joseph Paxton, a Derbyshire man who also happened to be a board member of the MR and LNWR, to design the stations of both companies. The station was built by John Smith.   

The MR and LNWR were told that their stations must be at a location on the north side of the town and that they must be next to each other. Paxton’s solution with regards to keeping to a particular architectural style that would complement Buxton was to design two twin stations. The LNWR station was to the west of the site chosen and the MR station to the east.

The stations were built out of local stone and at the buffer end they had identical huge half round windows. The glass contained within the window carried the appropriate company logo. The main station buildings faced each other; they were single storey stone-built structures. The MR building was on the west side of the station facing the LNWR building which was on the east side of that station.

Both stations were provided with an overall roof and they were linked at their southern end by a wall and shared access gate.. Detailed archways made of stone decorated the station's buildings on the platform side and everything was in a grand style. At the time of opening both stations were initially served by only a single track. At Buxton Midland there was a platform on either side of the single track giving two platform faces. A cattle dock and goods loading platform were also provided on the west side of the station. Goods sidings and an engine shed were located to the northeast of the station.

The formal opening ceremony for Buxton’s Midland station was held on the 30th May 1863. It was a grand dinner which took place at 2.00pm. The LNWR held their formal opening ceremony, also a grand dinner, on the same day at 3.00pm. Sir Joseph Paxton along with other civic dignitaries managed to attend both dinners.

Trains began operating from Buxton Midland station on the 1st of June 1863. Initially trains only ran between Buxton and Derby. They could all be classed as local trains, although some did not call at all stations (see attached timetable for 1st June 1863). From the following month, some stops were withdrawn, but none of the trains could really be classed as expresses.  At this time there were probably never through trains to London, only through coaches after the line opened to Manchester and from 1894 trains also ran to Sheffield.

When the MR had first considered a route for a line from Ambergate to Manchester, as early as the 1840s, they had thought that the route would continue on from Buxton and therefore the town would be served by a main line. This was not to be as a suitable route for main line running could be found from Buxton down towards Stockport. The LNWR had built their line
from Buxton to Stockport but it followed a torturous route of sharp bends and steep gradients. The MR found an ideal route between Blackwell Mill, which lay to the east of Buxton and to the west of Millers Dale, and Chinley.  The line between Blackwell Mill and New Mills opened on the 1st February 1867 giving the MR a route to Manchester which it had long desired. From this date Buxton’s Midland station effectively became a branch line terminus as most mainline services now bypassed the town.

In 1867 a new arrival platform was provided at Buxton Midland. The platform was effectively a new platform face on the existing platform that was situated on the east side of the single track. An additional line was laid to service the new platform. The new platform and line were outside the overall roof. Plans were submitted to create an extension to the roof but they were not implemented in 1867. A wooden infill separated the two platform faces and provided shelter for the line that was inside the overall roof.

Sometime before 1867 an excursion platform was provided a short distance to the north east of the main station building. It was located on the east side of the line and was linked to Bridge Street by a footpath. The MR had provided the platform because they realised the potential of Buxton as a mass tourist destination. The platform which was constructed from timber was lengthened in 1867.

In 1882 the station's two platforms were extended to allow longer trains to operate. In 1886 the idea of providing an extension to the roof was resurrected and a new roof was built. Additional carriage sidings were provided underneath the new roof. In 1890 alterations were made to the station which included the provision of a third class ladies' waiting room.   

On 25th June 1894, concurrent with the opening of the local stations on the Hope Valley line, a direct Sheffield to Buxton service was introduced which used the curves between Chinley East and South Junctions and between Peak Forest and Buxton Junctions at Blackwell Mill. Following the opening of the enlarged Chinley station in 1902 some of these trains were diverted to run into and out of that station. Eventually, they were withdrawn altogether and it became necessary to change trains at Chinley. 

In 1905 the cattle dock siding on the west side of the station was converted into a bay platform. The main reason for this was to provide a suitable platform for the Millers Dale shuttle services which had developed by that time. These trains ran backward and forward between Buxton and Millers Dale connecting with main line trains at Millers Dale. A new cattle dock was constructed. Also by this time a large engine shed had been developed.

Until 1904 the Midland and L&NW Railways were generally seen as rivals, particularly for the lucrative London to Manchester passenger traffic, which lead directly to the opening of a new direct line from New Mills South Junction to Heaton Mersey June in 1902. However, with most of the railway system now built, attitudes began to change, and in 1908 the two companies signed an agreement aimed at co-operation and the elimination of waste. This had a particular effect on Buxton, where the two stations had been built adjacent to one another. From 2nd November 1908, Samuel Pitt, the Midland Railway Station Master also assumed control of passenger and goods working at both the L&NW station and Higher Buxton.

Also opened in 1908 was a direct link from Buxton East Junction to the L&NW line. While it had been possible to exchange traffic prior to this time, this had involved a reversal at Buxton East. Although intended primarily for goods traffic, this line did see passenger trains from the summer of 1910 in the form of a unique Sheffield to Llandudno service. The coaches left Sheffield attached to the 11.5am Manchester service and were detached at Chinley. From here the train ran independently, traversing the new East curve, and then reversed into Buxton L&NWR station to pick up passengers. It then ran forward to Cheadle Village Junction (Stockport) where the coaches were attached to the rear of the L&NWR’s 11.45am Leeds (New) to Llandudno. A similar arrangement applied in the reverse direction, but with the train this time reversing from Buxton East to the Midland station to set down its passengers. Unfortunately, this service was suspended following the outbreak of the Great War and never resumed afterwards.

In 1922 there were 9 main line departures and 10 arrivals at Buxton Midland. Services ran to Manchester Central, to Manchester Victoria, to Derby and to Stockport. In addition there were 14 services to Millers Dale and 13 services from Millers Dale. Through coaches to London St Pancras also operated at this time. The coaches were attached to a main line train at Millers Dale.

In 1923 Buxton’s Midland Station became part of the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) as did the LNWR station. The station platforms were also numbered consecutively. The former LNWR station had platforms 1, 2 and 3 and the former MR station had 4, 5 and 6.

In 1932 the excursion platform was closed and removed. By this date excursion trains were using the main station platforms.

At first service patterns remained the same but by 1935 the former Midland Railway station had 12 main line arrivals and 12 departures. In addition it had local services to Chinley and 17 Millers Dale shuttle services in each direction. From 1934 the shuttle services were operated by push and pull trains which avoided a need for locomotives to run around trains. Through coaches
still operated to London but from 1935 they ran twice per day.

During the Second World War there were cutbacks to passenger services throughout the Country. At Buxton’s former MR station the services were decimated. Hardly any main line services ran and the shuttles were cut back. Between mid morning and late afternoon there were no trains at all. The situation did not improve very much after the war was over.

In January 1948 both of Buxton’s stations became part of the British Railways (London Midland Region). Very gradually things began to return to normal. By 1954 there were 6 main line departures and arrivals along with 17 shuttle services to Millers Dale and 16 from Millers Dale. Through coaches to London resumed c.1951.

By the 1960s main line services had reduced to 4 in each direction but to compensate there were 19 shuttles in each direction. The 1963 Beeching report recommended the closure of all intermediate stations between Matlock and Chinley, including Buxton’s former MR station. In 1964 the station's roof was demolished which left it looking derelict. It was in this sorry state that Buxton Midland Station was closed completely on the 6th March 1967.

The rest of the Midland station was then unfortunately demolished. The MR line from Chinley to Buxton survived after the closure of the Matlock to Blackwell Mill section in 1968 but only for freight trains. It was cut back from the station site though and diverted into former LNWR sidings. Apart from a small section of surviving stonework which formed the original end wall
the station side disappeared entirely under the 1980s ring road. The LNWR station remained open but it lost its overall roof.

There were developments at the station site and its approach lines site after closure. In 1975 a group of enthusiasts formed the Peak Railway Society (now Peak Rail) with the aim of re-opening the MR line to Matlock. In 1980 a Steam Centre was opened at Buxton and a new station platform was constructed at the site of the former excursion platform which had been removed in 1932. Track was relaid and the bridge over Bridge Street given a new deck. The Peak rail society had hoped that British Rail (BR) would allow

The Buxton steam centre shortly after it was abandoned
them to use the line to Blackwell Mill. Unfortunately BR was not helpful and blocked Peak Rails ambitions. After battling with officialdom for a number of years Peak Rail gave up and moved to Darley Dale at the other end of the line. The platform that they built is still extant but all track has been lifted. Peak Rail still hope to eventually reach Buxton once again. In 2009 the arched window at the LNWR station was restored to its former glory.

See also: The Railway Scene - Buxton online web site

Sources:The Monsal Trail then and now by Alistair Lofthouse – Ald print & Through Limestone Hills by Bill Hudson. Published by OPC 1989 ISBN 978-0860932178. Additional source Glynn Waite.

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.

Tickets from Michael Stewart, route map drawn by Alan Young, timetable and East curve plan from Rowsley Association.

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, Blackwell Mill Halt, Millers Dale, Monsal Dale, Great Longstone, Hassop, Bakewell, Rowsley (Second site), Rowsley (First site), Rowsley South PEAK RAIL, Darley Dale, Matlock Riverside PEAK RAIL & Matlock STILL OPEN. See also Stockport Tiviot Dale & Stockport Portwood

Looking southwest at Buxton's Midland station in 1948. A train stands beneath the station's overall roof. Buxton Midland station was unusual in that one line had two platform faces. All of the station's platforms are visible in this view. The platform to the right was a bay platform that was used by the Buxton to Millers Dale shuttles.
Copyright photo from Stations UK

Looking into the trainshed at Buxton Midland Station in April 1951. The picture shows three of the four platform faces that existed at this time. Out of site to the right was a fourth platform face which was in affect a short bay. Buxton Midland was unusual in having two platform faces for one track.
Copyright photo by R M Casserley
A view from the buffer stops at Buxton's Midland Station in 1953. The station's facilities are clearly demonstrated in this picture. Two tracks, served by three platform faces came into the station's overall roof along with a carriage siding which was to the right of the picture out of view. Outside of the overall roof a two coach 'push and pull train' occupies the station's bay platform. This train would have operated the Millers Dale Shuttle.
photo from John Mann collection

Looking southwest at Buxton Midland station on 11th May 1963 during a visit by the RCTS/LCGB North Midlands Railtour. The locomotive no. 61004 Onyx is a former LNER engine that in 1963 would have been based on the Eastern Region. The special train is standing on the original line that served Buxton Midland station from its opening in 1863. As can be seen from the picture the line has a platform on each side of it. On the far left of the picture the station building can be seen its chimneys standing out quite prominently. At this time the station's overall roof was still extant and a part of it can just be seen at the edge of the picture.
Photo by Geoff Plumb from his Plumb Loco web site

The two twin stations at Buxton in August 1963 as seen from the road. In the foreground is the LNWR station and in the background the Midland station. as can be seen from this picture they were built in the same style. The town councilors had insisted that the stations were both in keeping with the town. Joseph Paxton designed both stations.
Photo by Ben Brooksbank

Buxton Midland station in August 1968 shortly after the track was lifted.
Photo by Loosegrip99 from his Flickr photostream

Looking towards the northeast along a surviving section of platform at Buxton Midland
station in September 1980. The main station buildings had been to the left of the
photographer. The buffer stops had been to the rear of the photographer.
Photo by Nick Catford

Buxton steam centre in the 1980s seen from the water tower.
Photo from Peak Rail collection

looking southwest along the trackbed of the Midland Railway towards the site of Buxton Midland Station. The platform in the foreground was built after the station's closure by Peak Rail in 1980. It is adjacent to the location of the original excursion platform which was removed in 1932.
Photo by Paul Wright

Click here for more pictures of Buxton station




[Source: Paul Wright]

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