Delph Branch Closure Anniversary
On April 30 th 1955 the final passenger train ran from Delph to Oldham Clegg Street. Opened on September 1 st 1851 the single track Delph branch ran for 1.3 miles from Delph Junction in Uppermill to the terminus. Although the passenger service was known for many years as the Delph Donkey there is no evidence that the line was ever animal powered.
This was of course a pre-Beeching closure and said by the British Railways Board to be losing £28,000 a year. Although the closure Notice stated that the line would be closed “on and from” May 2 nd 1955 there was no Sunday service and so the final trains ran on Saturday April 30 th 1955.
The Oldham Chronicle reported that the last service left Clegg St at 11.10pm with 500+ passengers packed into the 4 coach train! A large crowd greeted the train at Delph including a donkey! The loco on the final working was 41281 a 2P 2-6-2T.
That was not quite the end though. Two enthusiast specials ran to Delph, one in 1956 and the other in 1962. The most illustrious train on the branch was on 21/22 June 1960 when the Royal Train conveying HM the Queen Mother between York and Chester stabled overnight on the branch.
The final train of all ran on December 4 th 1963, a Goods train from Bailey Mill siding at Delph.
Peter Dawson. STORM Secretary.