About this image
View towards the north-east. At this locality the line was climbing north-west through the hills from Rowsley. Shown here is the freight-train's 'banker' at work. A banking-engine temporarily pushed (often vigorously) assisting the train-engine to move a heavy load uphill. Dirty smoke shows the engine is being fired in preparation for the task ahead. In front of the engine is a 'brake van' (sometimes simply called a brake) in which the train's guard travelled. At the time there was always a brake on the back of a freight train. On this occasion the banker appears to be one of the mixed-traffic classes' of tank-engine designed by the L.M.S.
The River Wye flows through the deep valley of beautiful Monsal Dale, a site made famous by the disused railway viaduct which cuts dramatically through the scene. Built in 1863, as a railway route to and from Bakewell and Buxton, writer John Ruskin notoriously proclaimed of the Monsal railway viaduct that it is a place '...where you might expect to catch sight of Pan, Apollo, and the Muses, [which] is now deseasted in order that a Buxton fool may be able to find himself in Bakewell at the end of twelve minutes, and vice versa'. However, the paradox of Progress is such that now the viaduct is not only considered to enhance the natural beauty of the area, it also provides part of the course for the Monsal Trail, a popular route through the Peak District used by cyclists and walkers. (information from www.peakdistrict-nationalpark.com)