Updated 23 Oct 2009

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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Photo 607


Sam Buckley, with one of his winter-weather boards, installed to help protect the crew from the extreme conditions on the Peakland moors.

Crew of the last scheduled steam train from Middleton Top to Parsley Hay, April 1967. Arthur Millward (guard), Sam Buckley (driver), Dennis Vallance (fireman)

Sam's family placed this plaque on a seat they provided at Middleton Top, on what is now the High Peak Trail.

Sam BUCKLEY, engine driver, 1903-1972

[Photos, text and pedigree supplied by Max Hodnett ,thanks Max]
SAM BUCKLEY, who drove the last steam locomotive on the fondly remembered Cromford and High Peak Railway, was not just an engine-driver. He was a remarkable railwayman highly skilled in the craft of nursing the best out of steam engines over one of the most testing routes in the country. The 33-mile track, noted for its inclines up which wagons were hauled by stationary steam engines, linked the Cromford and Peak Forest canals. It corkscrewed its way over inhospitable terrain from High Peak Junction, near Cromford, to Whaley Bridge, near Stockport. Sam (1903-1972) was a Middleton man who moved to Wirksworth ten years after his marriage to Louie Mary Radford in 1926. He began work on the railway when he was still 13, having gained exemption from a requirement to stay at school until the age of 14. Moving up from the ranks, first as a cleaner, then a fireman, he became driver and it was in this role that he gained his reputation for excellence. After he drove the last scheduled train in April, 1967, he settled down to retirement but nine days later was unexpectedly called back to save the British Rail from embarrassment. They had arranged a number of final enthusiast specials, using two locomotives working as a pair, and manned by Buxton crews. Twice they failed to take these trains up the notorious Hopton Incline. Peter Gater, a lifelong railway enthusiast and friend of Sam, recalls: "For the third attempt, Sam, in his Sunday suit, had been spotted among the crowds assembled at Middleton Top and had been persuaded to once more take to the footplate of his old faithful No. 68012. Off they went . . . blasting out from Hopton Tunnel and raising the echoes for the ascent of the incline. Yet again the Buxton men allowed the pilot engine to lose adhesion, but Sam's magic touch held the train engine and for some time in this manner he both assisted the slipping and winded pilot engine and at the same time hauled the passenger-laden guard's van to a final ascent." Sam was helped on the footplate by one of his sons, Edward, a fireman with the C. and H. P. R. He had four sons, all of whom at one time worked on the railways. The eldest, Samuel Francis, was a signalman and district controller. The third-born, John, was for a time a clerk in the Divisional Operating and Trains Office and Engines and Engineman's Diagrams at Derby, and Geoff, was clerk in the Chief Mechanical and Electrical Engineer HQ, Personnel Office, Derby.
Supplied by Max Hodnett

A Stephenson Society special, one of which Sam Buckley helped to "rescue" after it failed to ascend the notorious Hopton Incline.

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BUCKLEY family

Joseph    1761    Anne
1780        |     1809
           1776              1774
           Samuel    1799    Phoebe
           1830        |     1825
       1816           1812               1808              1795
       Mary   1835    William    1845    Hannah    1840    Isaac
       1844     |     1889         |     1851        |     1841
                |                  |                 |
      |------|--|---|----|     |---|---|             |
      |      |      |    |     |       |             |
     1836   1838   1842 1844  1848    1851          1841
     Thomas Joseph Ann  Mary  Samuel  William       Thomas
            1841              1848              1864
            Elizabeth  1878   Samuel    1901    Ann
            1900        |     1919        |     1923
                        X                 |
                                    |          |                1902
                                   1904       1903              Louie
                                   Sarah      Samuel     1926   Mary
                                   Doxey      BUCKLEY=====v=====RADFORD
                                   BUCKLEY    1972        |
                                             |        |       |     |
                                            1927     1930    1934  1938
                                            Samuel   Edward  John  Geoffrey
                                            Francis  2005

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