There are references to the Railways of our area in most of the standard railway histories of the Pre-Grouping Companies which served the district; in addition the railway press has included more specific articles relating to our district, which also cover the post 1923 period which is largely unchronicled in books.
Of the standard railway histories, the one with the most information on our area is GEORGE DOW: "GREAT CENTRAL" (3 Vols.) a very thorough and readable work. With such a book on the G.C. and its antecedents there is little need for any further references.
For the Midland Railway there is no one standard history. F.S. WILLIAMS "THE MIDLAND RAILWAY - ITS RISE AND PROGRESS" only goes upto 1875 (when it was written) but nonetheless gives the best account of the Midland's drive for Manchester. C. HAMILTON ELLIS: "THE MIDLAND RAILWAY" is very readable and the best general history up to 1923, but of necessity short. E.G. BARNES: "THE RISE OF THE MIDLAND RAILWAY" and "THE MIDLAND MAIN LINE" are rather fuller, but in some respects unbalanced.
Turning now to articles, J.P. WILSON and E.N.C. HAYWOOD'S "THE ROUTE THROUGH THE PEAK - DERBY TO MANCHESTER" (Trains Illustrated March and April 1960) is the best all-round account of the Midland's Peak Line from its inception to recent times, and includes much of interest about the operation of the line in the 50's. P.E. BAUGHAM "BUXTON CENTENARY - THE APPROACH FROM DERBY AND BURTON-ON-TRENT" (Railway Magazine October 1963) also gives an account of the Midland's approach to Manchester as well as of the LNW's re-use of the C. & H.P.R. The Dalesman Paperback "RAILWAYS IN THE PEAK DISTRICT" by C.P. NICHOLSON & P. BARNES has some interesting illustrations and has information on the C.&H.P.R., the Midland Line through the Peak, the Hope Valley and Woodhead routes, but is very sketchy in places and contains some shocking errors of fact (e.g. on p.55).
The Macclesfield Line is referred to in "THE NORTH STAFFORDSHIRE RAILWAY" by R. CHRISTIANSEN and R.W. MILLER, (well worth reading anyway) and is dealt with specifically in an article in Railway World Feb.1971 by I.R. SMITH. The LNW Buxton Line is best dealt with in J.W. SUTHERLAND and W.J. SKILLEN'S article "BUXTON CENTENARY - THE APPROACH FROM STOCKPORT" in Railway Magazine June 1963. The "CHESHIRE LINES RAILWAY" by R.P. GRIFFITHS (Oakwood Press booklet) is the best booklet on the C.L.C., supplementing the information in Dows "Great Central".
For the historical framework, M.D. GREVILLE'S booklets "THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE RAILWAYS OF LANCASHIRE" and "THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE RAILWAYS OF CHESHIRE" are essential reference*. M.D. GREVILLE and G.O. HOLT'S "RAILWAY DEVELOPMENT IN MANCHESTER" (Railway Magazine Sept., Oct., and Nov.1957) is the best general account of the Railways of Manchester, while a modern reprint of W. HARRISON'S 1882 booklet "HISTORY OF MANCHESTER RAILWAYS" is a fascinating insight into a 19th C. view of Railway History ±. G. FREEMAN ALLEN'S "THE TRAFFIC DIVISIONS OF B.R. No.9 - MANCHESTER" in Modern Railways Nov. and Dec.1966, is a brilliant Beeching era view of the then state of Manchester's railways.
For those who like railway timetables, David and Charles publish reprints of BRADSHAW'S GUIDE for August 1887, April 1910 and July 1938. The Manchester Central Library possess a near-complete set of Bradshaw's from the earliest days of the railways, and these may be consulted on special application in writing. Ian Allan some years ago published reprints of the G.C.R. Timetable and Midland Timetable both for July-September 1903, and these contain much fascinating information apart from the timetables, about how the railways operated in their heyday; these reprints are however very difficult to come by.
For more details on the Marple Canal Tramways, see D. RIPLEY: "THE PEAK FOREST TRAMWAY" -Appendix 4**
An excellent article, "THE HOPE VALLEY LINE" by R. KEELEY, appeared in Railway World Annual 1980. The same author has published "MEMORIES OF L.N.E.R. STEAM" containing numerous fine steamage shots of Marple and District.
Finally for those who enjoy looking at photographs, there are several excellent albums published which include a good number of pictures of the area. These include A.C. GILBERT and M.R. KNIGHT'S "RAILWAYS AROUND MANCHESTER" J.R. HILLIER'S "L.M. STEAM IN THE PEAK DISTRICT", B. STEPHENSON'S "L.M.S. ALBUM No.3" and C.P. NICHOLSON'S "MAIN LINES IN THE PEAK DISTRICT".
* Obtainable from the Railway Canal and Historical Society by post from B.S. Cooper, "Macrae", Stubbs Wood, Chesham Bois, Amersham, Bucks. HP6 6EX.
± Obtainable by post from the Lancs. & Chesh. Antiquarian Society, do Portico Library, Mosley Street, Manchester.
** Obtainable by post from the Oakwood Press, Tandridge Lane, Lingfield, Surrey, or from bookshops.