Miller's Dale Station Derbyshire
Millers Dale station opened on 1 June 1863 on the Midland Railway line that had been authorised in May 1860 and which was completed in its entirety from Rowsley to Buxton by the station's opening date. Ever since the 1840s there had been a desire by the MR to reach the important industrial town of Manchester. Inter- company rivalry, finance and landowner objections had all delayed things and it was only the possibility that rival companies might build a route between Derby and Manchester that finally moved the MR to get their Act of 1860. The line between Rowsley and Buxton was intended as only the first stage. On the 1st February 1867 a further line opened from a point a couple of miles to the west of Millers Dale to New Mills. This finally gave the MR a route stretching all the way to Manchester which it had long desired.
Millers Dale Station was located a short distance to the southwest of its village namesake. When the station opened it was provided with two platforms. A substantial stone building which included a two storey station master's house was provided on the north side of the line on the southbound platform. The building was also provided with a canopy. A goods shed was provided to the west of the station buildings again on the north side of the line and the station had a 2-ton crane. It was served by sidings that passed behind the southbound platform. There were a number of private sidings including the Buxton Central Lime Co., Millers Dale Lime Co., Newton Chambers & Co and other companies. Only simple waiting facilities were provided on the northbound platform. At first the station was served by trains running between Buxton and points to the south of Ambergate, including London. However with the opening of the line to New Mills on the 1st February 1867, Millers Dale station took on a much more important role than might be expected for a station that was 800 feet above sea level and in a very remote location. A subway linking the platforms was built in 1884.
From the 1st February 1867 most of the MR main line express services running through Millers Dale were scheduled to stop there. The reason for this was that the MR wished to offer a fast service from Manchester, and a few years later from Liverpool, to London that was competitive with its arch rivals the London North Western Railway (LNWR). Because of the way the MR main line had developed Buxton had ended up being on a branch. If the MR ran its long distance express services into Buxton, a terminus station, it would then have to reverse them out again wasting valuable time. So it was decided that express trains would bypass Buxton. In order to provide the citizens of the spa town with the opportunity to travel on express services Millers Dale station was chosen to be an interchange station. The idea was that Buxton Passengers would travel to and from Millers Dale on local services. At Millers Dale express services would be available. To assist the people of Buxton even further, a shuttle service was introduced which ran only between Buxton and Millers Dale and which gave direct connections into main line services. Some through coaches to London from Buxton did run but they were brought to Millers Dale and then attached to, or detached from, the express train
So despite its isolated position, Millers Dale became a very busy station. In April 1875 works were authorised for the creation of a single storey wooden waiting shelter on the northbound platform. The platform was ready for use by March 1877. Also in 1875 a line was laid at the rear of the northbound platform that connected into the line at the western end of the station. This effectively created three platform faces. In the 1880s a run around loop was put in on this line so that Buxton shuttle services could use the third platform. On the 1st May 1889 Millers Dale station was renamed as ‘Millers Dale for Tideswell’ Tideswell lay a few miles to the north but the MR wanted passengers to realize that they could reach that town from their station at Millers Dale. By the early part of the 20th century Millers Dale, and the MR route generally, had become so busy that the MR decided to invest millions of pounds into improving the line in order to aid traffic flow. In 1905 Millers Dale Station sold 46,613 tickets. [This was the highest figure in MR days, other than in 1919/20 when bookings at most stations on the line increased markedly, possibly due to train services and facilities being restored more-or-less to pre-war levels – although they fell away quite dramatically from 1921 as the introduction of motor bus services and falling inflation was not matched by reductions in train fares.] Many more passengers than this would have used it as an interchange point. The improvement works were carried out between 1902 and 1906. At Millers Dale an extra viaduct was constructed and the line was quadrupled. This necessitated the rebuilding of the station. In its rebuilt form Millers Dale station was provided with five platforms, four of the platform faces being located on two island platforms.