Author: Howard Sprenger
Format: Paperback, 216 pages
The Wirksworth Branch by Howard Sprenger is now in its 3rd edition. Desperate to reach Manchester but thwarted by political wrangling with the LNWR north of Ambergate, the Midland Railway opened its branch to Wirksworth in October 1867. Although the line struggled in terms of passenger numbers, the amount of milk and limestone that was transported was enough to justify it being built. Passenger services ceased in 1947 and the milk traffic declined from this time too, but stone trains ran until 1989 when production at the quarries stopped.
The line was also used to test new stock built at Derby and locomotives that had been overhauled there. As a result it saw an amazing variety of rolling stock over the years. Once intended to be part of a major trunk route from London to Scotland the line looked set to end its days as a long and picturesque siding. That was until the mid 1990s when Wyvern Ltd was formed to provide commuter services during the week and run steam trains for tourists at the weekends.
In September 2004 the first passenger trains for almost 60 years departed from the station at Wirksworth.