Notes: Chinley’s 1st station was located on the Midland Railway (MR) main line route that ran between Manchester Central and Ambergate.
The MR had opened a line in stages between Ambergate and Buxton by the 1st June 1863. However the company’s real goal was to get to Manchester. The original idea had been for the line to continue westwards from Buxton but opposition from the London North Western Railway (LNWR) and geological factors forced the MR to think again.
As the line to Buxton was nearing completion the MR began to look for alternative routes. A route from Blackwell Mill, which lay to the east of Buxton, to Chinley and Marple looked favourable. During the Autumn of 1861 the MR chairman Mr Beale along with the deputy Chairman Mr Hutchinson and the company general manager James Allport were visiting the proposed route for the line which had been surveyed by company engineers. Whilst driving down a narrow lane they came across a cart which was carrying the Director and two officers of the Manchester Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MSLR). The two groups got to talking and discovered that each was looking at the same route for a railway. Rather than waste time and energy competing against each other the group retired to a hostelry for food and drink. They spent the rest of the day together and reached an accord.
The MSLR had recently received an Act that would allow it to build a line from Hyde near Manchester to New Mills. It was agreed that if the MR could build a line from Blackwell Mill to the proposed MSLR line then both companies would benefit. The MR could have a route to Manchester by using MSLR metals and the MSLR could have access to the Peak District and beyond.
In 1862 an act was passed giving the MR authority to build a line from Blackwell Mill to a point just over three miles to the west of Chinley where an end on connection with the MSLR line at New Mills was made. The act was called the ‘Rowsley and Buxton Extension Line’.
Chinley was in the 1860s a small settlement of less than a thousand people but the MR decided that they would locate a station there. A site was chosen to the north west of the village and a contract was awarded for the building of the station to Messrs J E Hall in 1866. The line opened to goods traffic on 1st October 1866. Passenger services were to have commenced on 1st November, but a landslip at Bugsworth resulted in its closure while a new deviation was constructed. The line re-opened for goods traffic on 24th January 1867 and to passenger traffic on 1st February.
The station was situated on the west side of a road overbridge which carried Chinley Road over the line. The station which had two platforms was based on the MR station at Great Longstone which was on the section of MR main line that had opened in 1863. The station building was a two storey stone built structure. It was positioned on the south side of the line on the northbound platform. On the southbound platform a simple shelter in the style of an awning was provided.
The station was also provided with goods facilities including a stone goods shed and cattle dock. The goods facilities were all located on the south side of the line at the west end of the station.
At the time of opening train services would have run to Buxton, Derby and to Manchester London Road via the MLSR line. By 1880 though the MR had a route to Manchester Central via Stockport Tiviot Dale and by 1892 11,000 passenger bookings were being made at Chinley.
The Dore & Chinley Railway (a separate concern, although backed by the Midland) was incorporated on 28th July 1884. It was vested in the Midland Railway in its Additional Powers Act of 24th July 1888, although the Dore & Chinley Railway itself was not actually dissolved until 2nd April 1894.
The Dore & Chinley line opened to goods traffic on 6th November 1893, through excursion traffic on 14th May 1894, through expresses on1st June 1894 and finally a local passenger service started running on 25th June 1894
Most of the local services initially ran between Sheffield and from Buxton via Chinley East and South Junctions or terminated at Hope. Passengers wishing to travel to and from Chinley you had to change at Chapel-en-le-Frith, often with long waits. No services from Sheffield terminated at Chinley 1st station. Two water cranes were installed at Chinley station in 1894 for the use of trains on the new line.
The traffic levels built up to such an extent that the line through Chinley became seriously congested. The MR also had plans to create a direct line from New Mills to Cheadle Heath which would speed up express services between Manchester Central and London St Pancras. This new line would make matters even worse. The solution was to add two extra tracks to the route from New Mills to the junction between the Sheffield and the Ambergate lines. The MR received an act to do this in 1900. The project would require the building of a new station for Chinley to the west of the original. The MR approved the building of a new station on the 20th September 1900.
During the widening of the route the southbound platform at Chinley was demolished and replaced by a temporary wooden structure. Work commenced on the building of the new station which opened to passengers on the 1st of June 1902. The original station was closed on the same day. Chinley didn’t become a junction station until the new enlarged station opened and even then some trains still ran direct between Sheffield and Buxton.
After closure the station building was dismantled brick by brick and re-erected in the village as a private house. The platforms were demolished and taken away leaving no trace of the original Chinley station.
Through Limestone Hills by Bill Hudson. Published by OPC 1989 ISBN 978-0860932178. Railways Across the Pennines by Stanley C Jenkins & Howard Quayle Published 1990 by Littlehampton Book Services ISBN-13: 978-0711018402
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.
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, 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,Chapel-en-le-Frith Central, Peak Forest,
Cheedale Halt, Buxton (Midland), 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