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Matlock Bath : Midland Express Passing Through the Station
Matlock Bath : Twentieth Century Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
Midland Express passing through the station at Matlock Bath
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The Railways of Derbyshire, 1903
(Old Maps of Derbyshire)

Midland Railway Distances

There is a great deal that is interesting about this early twentieth century postcard. It shows the High Tor, the High Tor Tunnel and the large gasometer on the Starkholmes side of the line.

There are actually two trains shown on the main line as a second train is waiting at the northbound platform whilst the Midland Express, with its distinctive "Derby Red" (or crimson lake) livery, steams southwards towards Cromford and then Derby. Matlock Bath was more than just a passenger station and several goods wagons are in the sidings of the station yard. There are no signals close to the points and the adjacent sidings and it is impossible to see the position of signal box, which would give a clearer idea of when this picture dates from[1]. Presumably the white boxes close to the points are linked to the signals.

Whilst it is quite hard to date the postcard precisely it is possible it is from about 1906-08. Comparisons with late nineteenth century photographs show the station to be very similar[1]. Drabble's Timber Yard is on the left. George Drabble began advertising at Matlock Bath in 1891 as "timber merchant and saw mills, Railway station" and the last reference to him at the station was about 1916[2].

The railway engine, a Class 3P 4-4-0, could have been built in the 1890's as the distinctive tall funnel and the extended footplate at the front of the engine's boiler marks it as an extremely early style; the life of such engines was twenty or more years. The driver's cab is very open and has spectacle glasses as windows[3]. The express is heading a uniform rake of Buin clerestory coaches[4]. These coaches appeared around 1904[4], which is why the date of 1906-08 is suggested.

Midland Express trains no longer steam through Matlock Bath on their way to Manchester or London and haven't done so since the days of Dr. Beeching. The line was closed in 1967 but fortunately re-opened as far as Matlock in time for the Spring Bank Holiday in 1972[5]. There is now only a single track for the trains and the footbridge to the platform on the down side has long gone, as has that platform. In April 2019, after a six month restoration, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust opened a discovery centre and café in the station building.

The booking hall and platform.

The booking hall, but looking southwards down the platform. Key's Field can be seen top right.

View even more about the station by clicking on the images below:


19C stereoview1

19C stereoview2


Tunnel, 19C
About 1906


Station House

Today, image3

Also see, elsewhere in the Matlock section of this web site, Bemroses' Guide, which dates from about 1869:
Vignette engraving of High Tor Tunnel, showing the railway station building (at the bottom of the page)
Tourist Tickets on the Midland Railway
Weekend Fares on the Midland Railway

More information about the railway elsewhere on this website:
Railway Cards of Derbyshire Scenes - more Midland Railway cards, but not the same publisher
The Railways of Derbyshire, 1903 - a map

Those with railway ancestors might like to see the following, as some Midland Railway employees moved from Matlock to Matlock Bath station:
Matlock & Matlock Bath Lists: The Twentieth Century: Matlock Station Staff, 1911 - 1966, A - J
Matlock & Matlock Bath Lists: The Twentieth Century: Matlock Station Staff, 1911 - 1966, K - Y

"Midland Express Passing through Matlock Bath". Postcard, printed in Bavaria, with Inland postage ½d and Foreign postage 1d. Unposted, so no date.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Photographs adapted from originals taken in 2008 © Paul Kettle.
Information researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (the coloured links are to onsite transcripts):

[1] There is a photograph from 1889 in "Bygone Days in the Peak District" (1979) by Lindsey Porter and Dudley Fowkes, Moreland Publishing Co. Ltd., Ashbourne ISBN 086 190 016 2. The original page suggested a date of 1900 but this has changed.

[2] See Kelly's directory transcripts on this website for 1891 | 1895 | 1899 | 1908 | 1916

[3] See, for example: Nock, O.S. (1983) "British Locomotives of the 20th Century, Volume 1, 1900-1930" Book Club Associates, London. This book has similar designs of both engines and carriages.

[4] With grateful thanks to Michael Bentley, an expert on the Midland Railway, for his advice and help to provide a more accurate date than I originally had (added August 2008).

[5]"Long Eaton Advertiser", 26 May 1972. The paper describes the station as newly re-opened.