This is part of a heritage trail around Milford, taking in some of the key historic areas. You can find a map of the trail, and information on where to find interpretation boards containing more details on the town and its history at www.derwentvalleymills.org/milford.
Milford Tunnel and the North Midland Railway
The North Midland Railway
In 1835, the pioneering railway engineer George Stephenson was commissioned to survey a railway route from Derby to Leeds. He later appointed his son Robert, closely helped by Assistant Engineer Frederick Swanwick, to see the project through to completion in 1840.
The Stephensons and Swanwick designed the North Midland Railway line to have gradients no greater than 1 in 250 to suit the limited power of steam locomotives at that time. To achieve such gradients the line from Derby followed the River Derwent from Derby to Ambergate. Milford’s was one of seven tunnels needed for the whole project.
The structures on the North Midland Railway were beautifully designed in the landscape, and incredibly well built: the impressive extent to which the line from Derby to Chesterfield is preserved today is unusually rare for a railway of this date.
The Milford Tunnel
At Milford, the building of the line in such a tight valley necessitated the building of a tunnel. Architect Francis Thompson was commissioned to design the impressive northern portal which can still be seen from the road bridge.