Buxton Lime Firms
Date Visited: May 2010
History courtesy of the learned Mr Tarboat :)
The limeworks was set up by the New Buxton Lime Co. in 1901 to serve its quarry on the south side of the valley and involved a substantial bridge over the river and road, which is believed to have been built of timber. The company was taken over by the Buxton Lime Firms in 1908 and shortly after the massive kilns and associated buildings were constructed. In July 1924 it was reported that extensive enlargements were in hand which would require additional siding accommodation. It was further reported that the bridge was in a very poor state of repair and required renewal. Under the circumstances it was resolved to move the siding connection to the east of Ashwood Dale bridge, and lay in a new access track, which would allow the original bridge, whose abutment can be seen just east of the Devonshire public house, to be demolished. The bridge was in fact so bad that LMS engines were not permitted to cross it and wagons had to be loose shunted across. Outgoing wagons were run to the western end of the bridge, probably by horses and were picked up by an engine with a rake of wagons. The works remained in operation until 1956, relying almost totally on rail transport.
The initial railway connection was a bit weird in that they built a timber bridge over river and road when they could have just connected at the east end of the main line bridge from the start.
Traffic to and from these quarries and Topley Pike called for several trains per day in the 1930s and while the majority of wagons were sorted at Buxton, Gowhole, Peak Forest or Millers Dale there was one block train daily direct to Cheadle sidings, leaving Ashwood Dale at 1.55pm, with a balanced return working from Cheadle at 6.30pm.
A quick peek at my industrial railway records shows that Cowdale Limeworks at one time had a Motor Rail petrol locomotive which came from Alsop Moor Limeworks at some time after 1921 and was transferred to Denbighshire in 1935. I would have expected that main line locos and horses were used after that. The quarry and works also had an extensive 2ft gauge network using petrol and diesel Motor Rail locomotives. This lasted until closure in 1956.