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Kenneth Homer, of Belper, shares some childhood memories.

AS a schoolboy living in Ambergate at the time, I used to cycle to High Peak Junction on the Cromford and High Peak Railway to watch the wagons going up and down Sheep Pasture incline.
This is now where the High Peak Trail starts.
The wagon in the photograph has just arrived at this point after descending the incline on the end of a wire rope.
It would probably have been loaded at the quarry at Middleton by Wirksworth.
The weight of its lowering would have pulled empty wagons back up the incline, assisted by a winding winch at the top, near Black Rocks, originally powered by a steam beam engine before  later being converted to electric.
After the wagon was unhitched from the cable by the waiting workman, it was then taken to a sidings by a small steam tank engine, which, in turn, brought back more empties for the next run.
When the rail line was originally constructed, the wagons would have been unloaded into barges on the adjacent Cromford Canal.
However, with the arrival of the Midland Main Line further up the Derwent Valley, a single-track connection was made to join this at Homesford Cottage.
From the top of the incline, the line continued over the White Peak and the wagons would come and go, pulled by a further small tank engine on to the foot of the next incline at Middleton, where the original steam beam engine still exists in working order.
At the bottom of the photograph, there is now a visitor centre which includes a small museum in the original workshop and a shop in one of the original buildings.
A few years ago, the shop sold a pair of DVDs giving the whole history of the line. They may still have some if anyone is interested.
There is also a picnic area by the canal.
Another interesting point about the rail line is that, besides empty wagons, they also used to send up supplies of fresh water, contained in the tanks of old locomotive  tenders.
This is because there was a shortage of fresh water supplies on the limestone plateau.
Regarding the Derbyshire Stone inscription on the wagon in the picture, this was the name of the firm which owned and operated the Cawdor Quarry at Matlock.
Although they owned a large fleet of railway wagons, all of these that I can remember were of the older, wooden-sided type, while the photograph shows a later steel hopper wagon.
But they may have had some of these in later days.
As for the photograph you showed of Headstone Viaduct on the same spread of pictures, I not only remember it, but rode over it in the days when you could get a steam train from Ambergate to Matlock.

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