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Remembering the Delph Donkey

September 8, 2009

Whilst researching over the weekend I came across this description of a pre war trip along the Delph Donkey to Oldham’s Tommy field Market

It is written by Wilfred Ashton and appears in his book,Saddle-worth Miscellany

The journey was as exciting as the road to Samarkland.To an observant eight year old,the trip on the now legendary Delph donkey took exactly 20 minutes.
After chuffing out of Greenfield station,attended by steaming plumes of white smoke through the elite district of Grasscroft,we were suddenly hurled into a long tunnel.

My eyes used to open in wonderment as the train pitched its way along the swirling acrid smells of stale engine detritus finally emerging at a terrific speed into the sunshine of the Grotton Valley.
Thence forwards to Lees station where senior porters in those days a huge moustache stained with tobacco and beer and who took their job very seriously indeed.

As the train moved forwards to Glodwick Road,I was always glad to see his back as he reminded me of a picture I had of fierce Pathans.
Glodwick was the nadir of what a locality should resemble when it was raining hard it looked far worse.

The Delph donkey was a now ledgendary line opening inn1849 which ran between Delph and Oldham.It closed to passengers in 1955 and to freight eight years later.Part of the line is now used as a walkway.

The donkey name was rumoured to have come about because the original trains were pulled by horses although this is highly unlikely.


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