Middleton Top winding engine from Cromford & High Peak Railway. Derbyshire Peak District
The Peak District covers much of Derbyshire and parts of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Yorkshire. There are numerous interesting towns such as Ashbourne, Bakewell, Buxton, Leek, Matlock and Wirksworth, plus many enchanting villages
The stationery engine was used to wind trucks up and down the Middleton Incline, which has a gradient of 1 in 8, and is a beam engine built by the Butterley Company in 1829 - these are the original engines for the railway began operation in 1830. Each engine cost £2000, a very large sum in those days, and the incline was in use until 1963.
Outside the engine house you can see a pulley wheel under a grille in the centre of the track. There was a similar pulleys at the bottom of the incline and a loop of steel cable was attached around them. The wagons were then attached to this by chains and usually the engine would have one set of wagons descending the incline and another on the other track ascending - in order to counterbalance the load. A maximum speed of 8 miles per hour was permitted because it was very difficult to control a set of runaway wagons loaded with limestone.
Also outside the engine house you can see a sample wagon from the old railway, and a short section of the original track, with a distinctive type of rail. Originally these were attached to blocks of stone rather than the usual sleepers.
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How to get there
from Wirksworth drive up towards Middleton by Wirksworth. As you arrive at the village, Middleton Top is signposted left, along the road which leads to Carsington and Ashbourne.
By Bus: the R61 bus from Matlock to Derby goes close to Middleton Top.
When is it open?
The engine is now operated for visitors by its owners, Derbyshire County Council Countryside Service, every first Sunday of the month between April and October, plus Bank Holiday weekends - but compressed air is used rather than the original steam propulsion.
What does it cost?
Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary.
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