|R321||150th Anniversary of the Midland Railway - Duffield to Wirksworth Line||£10.95||Buy Now|
Issue Date: 01/10/2017
Issue Name: 150th Anniversary of the Midland Railway - Duffield to Wirksworth Line
Producer: Buckingham Covers
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Duffield to Wirksworth line, we have produced this superb cover which shows the Wirksworth part of the line at the turn of the century. Featuring a 1st class LMS Coronation Class stamp and a '150th anniversary' Wirksworth postmark.
The Wirksworth Line
The Midland Railway was created in 1844 with the amalgamation of Midland Counties Railway, North Midland and Birmingham & Derby Junction. For a short time, the Midland Railway occupied a key position but It was soon bypassed by the LNWR’s West Coast Route in 1848 and by the formation of the Great Northern Railway in 1850, losing the Midland a lot of traffic.
The Midland shared sections of the line with the LNWR. Relations between the two companies were strained and the Midland, tired of the relationship with the LNWR, undertook the construction of a number of lines of its own. The "Wirksworth Branch" was one product of this rivalry.
In November 1862, the Midland introduced a Bill into Parliament for a line from Duffield to Wirksworth to provide the company with its own independent route to the north. After several set-backs the line was opened to passengers on 1st October 1867. There was no official ceremony to mark the occasion, but the first train was greeted by hundreds who had assembled for its arrival. Over the years, competition for the railway increased and by 1947 it was decided that Wirksworth would lose its passenger service. The line remained open to freight, and the occasional passenger excursion, thanks to the output of stone from Middlepeak Quarry. However, with only a couple of trains a week its future was in doubt. The last stone train departed from Wirksworth in December 1989 and the line fell into disrepair.
In 1996 Wyvern Rail were awarded a Light Railway Order for the full length of the line. Wirksworth station was reopened in 2002, with the first ½ mile of line between Wirksworth and Gorsey Bank reopened for a DMU shuttle passenger service in 2004, followed by a new line to Ravenstor in 2005. On 8 March 2008, the railway began to branch its passenger operations further south by holding a grand opening ceremony for the line between Wirksworth station and Idridgehay station - 3½ miles of the line's total length. Today they operate heritage diesel and occasional steam services on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway between Wirksworth and Duffield.
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