East Midlands Oral History Archive

Tracking our Heritage

Physical detail

  • Number of items in the collection: 23 items
  • Venues where material can be listened to: digital copies of interviews available to listen to at the EMOHA
  • Media available on: digital files

Collection history

Tracking Our Heritage was a project carried out by the Derwent and Wye Valley Railway Trust with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. it aimed to record the oral histories of former employees of the section of the railway known as Peak Rail that ran between Ambergate and Buxton in Derbyshire. Interviewees include former commuters as well as volunteers who worked on, travelled on or lived close to the railway.

What the collection contains

The collection includes childhood memories of the railway, experiences of different railway jobs such as booking clerks, train cleaners, firemen and steam train drivers, trainspotting, day trips to Matlock and Bakewell, holidays and the social lives of railway staff, closure of railway depots and the eventual running down of the railway and inevitable redundancies.

Listen to some highlights

Explosion at Bakewell Station

'I was working for a local bloke and I was given the job of working in one of the rooms at Bakewell Station, ripping out all this dry rot and wood, skirting boards, floorboards, joists, everything had to go. So I sort of piled it up in a big heap […] set fire to it, kept an eye on it and all of a sudden there’s this huge bang and part of the stone edging to the platform had lifted and blown up. And I can still see it to this day where this piece of stone’s missing. Forty odd years later.'

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  • Runaway Train

    'Well I were only ever involved in one runaway and it was a mainline train we’d relieved. We’d gone over the top with the train, like, you know., and […] I hadn’t been on the mainline much by that time, but I was watching the driver when we were going down through Doveholes Tunnel and he kept bringing the reversing lever back and the engine were shaking. The brake was on I’d put the tender brake on, but then he got the – we used to carry a brake stick sometimes – and he jammed it in the thing and he give it some more. And I could tell there was something wrong because we just weren’t checking them, you know. Anyway, he eventually said to me, he said, ‘I think we’re running Ralph. We’re not stopping them.’ The guard’s brake looked as though it was on fire, he’d got that much anchor on that. There was smoke flying everywhere, you know, at the back end of the train, ’cause he knew what were going off and ’cause everyone did once you started blowing that whistle.'

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