Saturday 4 August 2012

Do You Know Noedale? [1]

Probably not, 'cos it's not called that!
History does not tell us why this picturesque valley did not take the name of the river that in aeons past gouged it out of the Derbyshire hills (poetic eh?); but instead it was recorded as Aidele (1086), Heydale (1251), Eydale (1275), Eydal (1285) and Edall (1550). Today it is known as Edale.

There is a picturesque village of that name as well ...
... located on a cul-de-sac road which leads to the southernmost point of the Pennine Way.
Take the track straight ahead and keep going till you get to Kirk Yetholm (in Scotland, just)!
The village now proudly called Edale probably owes its celebrated name to the Midland Railway which, in 1894, opened a station at the end of that cul-de-sac and called it after the Dale rather than the village. Thus the delightfully-named Derbyshire hamlet of Grindsbrook Booth became the village of Edale.
There were many other "Booths", a local name for a smallholding specialising in cattle, and their names changed over the years. Just glancing at the map, fbb thinks a better name for the station might have been "Fiddlehead".

When the "fast" passenger trains were transferred from the electrified Woodhead trans-pennine route in January 1971, there were proposals to withdraw the local passenger service on the line, thus depriving the isolated Edale of reliable public transport, particularly in Derbyshire's harsh winters. Ultimately the bosses of British Rail capitulated and offered a basic but infrequent service of stoppers with a connection at New Mills to and from Manchester.
The final section of the Pennine Way was completed in 1975, so the humble Edale station would become an important access point for the brave souls who sought to walk the whole 267 miles. Tired old diesel units would be better than nothing!
But recent years have brough about a big change in the fortunes of little Edale. It is now a well kept, but unstaffed stop ...
... with a much more frequent service.
Mondays to Fridays trains run every two hours but on Saturdays the service is hourly. The Sunday service is also hourly in the Summer with a little pruning once the schools go back in September. In the 70s there was one fast train every hour (non-stop) and now there a two; good old BR cut-back planners must be turning in their graves!
And there's freight as well.

Mind you, the stopping trains themselves are a bit spartan by today's standards, the best effort usually being one of these ...
Or even the dreaded Pacer, although in their refurbished form they are much less bus-like; still rattle-trpas, though.
But this review was prompted by an email from chum David (that's Leicester David, not Sheffield David) relating his experience at Edale back in early July.

Of which more tomorrow.

 Next Blog : Sunday 5th July 

1 comment:

  1. I've only just read this, having been away on my holidays. The proposal to withdraw Hope Valley local trains dates from c1966 and the Beeching Plan, not 1971. The rail replacement buses were costed higher than retaining the rail service, especially as a service would have tpo be provided just for Edale: I understand that Sheffield Transport had an option on another Cravens-bodied Bedford VAS (like no 1) for this, but commonsense prevailed and the trains stayed.

    I've never seen a photo of an X72 (as they were latterly numbered) but Caunt's 'North Western- A Driver's Reminiscences' (published c1982) has a shot of a North Western Reliance at The Snake Inn. The 'refreshment stop' there was, I am informed on good authority, used by STD crew on the 39 as achance for a swift half!! A practice, perhaps fortunately, no longer quite permissible.