Full steam ahead... into the past

A short section of High Peak railway is vividly brought back to life in a brand new book of old photographs.

Tuesday, 29th October 2013, 3:00 pm
Part of the much enlarged Chinley station in 1902. In addition to the passenger platforms above there was a goods yard and locomotive facilities.

Over the Peak is the first in the popular Foxline series of books - which covers various lines in the Peak District - to focus indepth on the short section from Chinley to Millers Dale.

Split into two parts, the first covers just a six-mile section of the former Manchester to London Midland mainline between Chinley and Peak Dale, which to this day remains open to quarry traffic.

It has been written and compiled by John Bentley, who worked on the railways for nearly 40 years, including on the section of track immortalised in his new book.

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“I used to write books on local railway history for Foxline,” explained John, of Lightwood Road.

“Now Foxline has a new owner, he is reprinting all the books we have done previously. However, this section of line, from Chinley to Peak Forest, hasn’t been covered in depth.

“I’ve tried to go into it from a railwayman’s point of view rather than just writing a book about the history of the line. It is a part of the railway I have known all my life and I finished working on it.

“Nobody has really gone into the effect the railway had on the quarry industry, and that is another thing I have tried to do in this book and the one that will follow.”

A must-buy for rail enthusiasts, this 104-page paperback is packed with a huge collection of black and white photographs, many of which are unseen and all accompanied by detailed commentary (in his introduction, the author makes no apologies for including as many photographs as possible!)

Also in the book, John explores the changing face of the line and its contrasting surroundings, from the “lunar-type” quarry landscape to the beautiful, breathtaking scenery which saw it christened ‘Little Switzerland’.

And there are special features on the notorious Dove Holes Tunnel - described by John as a “terrible place” - and Peak Dale’s industrial scene.

Published by Book Law/Foxline or Nottingham, Over The Peak Part 1 - Chinley to Peak Forest (Peak Dale) is priced £19.99. For more details on this and other titles in the series, call 0115 961 1066 or visit www.booklaw.co.uk.