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Site record MDR7576 - Route of Crich Mineral Railway, Crich and Ripley

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

Built by George Stephenson in either 1837 (1) or 1841 (2). It ran from Cliff Quarry to the limekilns at Ambergate. The line was not closed until 1957. There was originally a branch to Crich Quarry which closed about 1846. Some original buildings remain within the present tramway museum complex and the bridge under the road outside of the museum is visible. The small bridge at Gost Hill (SK348543) is also clearly visible. A small loco-shed at Chadwick Nick (SK 348533) survives, while the remains of the inclined plane that took the line down to the canal level are still visible. (2) Following the formation of a Company and the sinking of shafts near Clay Cross which produced large quantities of small coals which were not readily saleable at that time, George Stephenson met with a number of men in 1838 in order to gain financial support for a project. This involved the opening of a quarry at Crich, the building of a lime works and kilns at Ambergate and the construction of a railway to convey limestone from the quarry to the lime works. The small coals would then be transported on the North Midland Railway to kilns, so turning the unwanted commodity into usefulness and profit. The whole project came into being in 1841. George Stephenson himself superintended the construction of the railway line which included two tunnels and two self-acting inclines. In 1841 the beginning of the line was at what is now Jeffries Lane, near Crich Vicarage, because the first supplies of limestone were excavated at Church Quarry. Access to the quarry was through a tunnel under Cromford Road. The entrance to this tunnel is now [in 1967] covered and blocked by unwanted material and tipped rubbish. From Jeffries Lane to Chadwick Nick is level for most of its length, having been built on an embankment and crossing Bulling Lane on a high archway, then on through a short tunnel under the B5035 to the top of the first self-acting incline. There was a slight gradient, then for 400 yards a steeper fall, then on to the second tunnel. Just through this was the head of the so-called Steep where George Stephenson erected his famous drum, on a vertical axis, which remained in use for 116 years until the line was closed in 1957. The first use of steam locomotion was in 1880. (3) The track represents first metre gauge railway. (4) The line of the inclined plane that took the line down to the canal level is now barely discernable [2011]. (5)

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Derbyshire County Council. 1994. Discovering Derbyshire. p132.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D (ed.). 1993. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology: A Gazeteer of Sites Part III: Borough of Amber Valley. Site 029; p. 5.
  • <3> Article in serial: Garlic, S L. 1967. 'George Stephenson's mineral line', Derbyshire Miscellany. Volume IV, pp 17-20.
  • <4> Monograph: Tramway Museum Society. 1971. The Crich Mineral Railways by Dowie.
  • <5> Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D (ed.). 2011. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology: A Gazetteer of Sites, Part III, Borough of Amber Valley (second edition). p7.



Grid reference Centred SK 35110 52672 (983m by 3170m)

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Record last edited

Jan 19 2023 2:29PM

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