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The Midland Railway Centre at Ripley came about as a the result of a proposal to commemorate the role of the Midland Railway in the industrial history of Derby. A decision was made in 1969 to create both a working and static museum dedicated to the history and development of the railway. After considering a number of options the Pye Bridge to Ambergate line, which had closed in 1968 was selected.

The project was supported by Derby Corporation and Derbyshire County Council who realised the benefits that reclamation would bring, including leisure opportunities, in an area of industrial dereliction. Unfortunately, only part of the original line remained as the track west of the A38 had vanished with the realignment of the A610 leaving only the three and a half miles from Hammersmith to Pye Bridge. Amongst the many problems that confronted the developers were, the line had been lifted, Butterley Station had been removed and there was a 100 feet high slag heap at Swanwick.



Escalating costs saw the withdrawal from the project of both the County Council and Derby Corporation. However, the Midland Railway Project Group, a voluntary labour force, which had supported the venture from its earliest days remained. The volunteers decided to continue with the project and they formed The Midland Railway Company Limited on the 20 February 1973, which three years later became the Midland Railway Trust.

A formidable task for the volunteers lay ahead when work started in 1973, but slowly and surely the railway took shape. Butterley became the base and an identical station was moved from Whitwell to replace the original one that had once stood on the site. The museum project was based at Swanwick. By 1975 sufficient progress had been made to hold a steam open day when locomotives were steamed and memorabilia put on display.


Over the years The Midland Railway Centre has been expanded so that it is now much more than a railway. Although the highlight for most visitors is the seven mile trip through delightful countryside, the numerous other attractions include.

1.  Railway Museum - containing a unique collection of restored locomotives and rolling stock.

2.  Princes Royal Class Locomotive Trust Depot.

3.  The Midland Diesel collection of main line diesel locomotives.

4.  The Golden Valley Light Railway.

5.  Thirty five acres of country park to explore.

6.  Brittain Pit Farm Park - wide variety of animals.

7.  Display of bygone days farm and factory machinery.

8.  Award winning Victorian railway man's church.

9.  Demonstration signal box.

10. Miniature and model railways.




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Midland Railway Centre, (Tel. 01773 570140) is a fine heritage railway offering a seven-mile trip through Amber Valley countryside. The Railway Museum containing a unique collection of restored locomotives and rolling stock: the Golden Valley Light Railway, miniature and model railways which form only part of the many attractions.


The Midland Railway Centre is now open for passenger services most weekends of the year. Weekday services are run from April to October with trains being operated everyday during the school holidays. Special interest weekends are run throughout the year. Refreshments available.




Heage Windmill (Tel. 01773 853579 - when mill closed telephone 01773 853136) a Grade II listed building, is the only working, stone-towered, multi-sailed windmill in England. Spectacular views across the Derwent Valley. Visitor Centre and shop. Light refreshments. Normally open: Saturday and Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays from Easter to the end of October. please confirm details. See feature.


Crich Tramway Village (Tel. 01773 852565) boasts a large array of vintage trams from all over the world. Unlimited rides through a period street to stunning views of the Derwent Valley. For further information see the special feature.


Denby Pottery Visitor Centre (Tel. 01773 740799) offers factory tours - booking essential. The visitor centre is open daily from Monday to Saturday from 9.30am - 5pm, Sunday from 10am - 5pm. The museum, cookery emporium and factory shops are all open daily. Free centre entry and car parking. Groups welcome. See feature.





Provides a wide range of features  with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.


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A special new sub-section has been added to this website, based on the Discover Derby Supplement, published by the Derby Evening Telegraph during March 2005. The most recent additions are:

 Click below for details.

Discover Derby  



Ripley is a friendly place to visit and with a population of close on 20,000 the town offers a wide variety of shops. Most of the the town's businesses have been established over many years and are still run by their owners. This helps to provide a much more personal touch than that encountered in many chain stores in larger towns and cities.

Ripley Feature

All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.