Haddon Tunnel is located in the English county of Derbyshire. It was built by the Midland Railway in 1863 as an extension of its Buxton branch-line, into the Peaks, linking the afore-mentioned Buxton with Matlock. The line was born out of the Midland Railway’s rivalry with the London & North Western (LNW) to secure a strategic rail route between London and Manchester. The first section was the 15-mile extension of the Rowsley line into Buxton, authorised in May 1860.
The 1,058-yard long tunnel was constructed to hide the railway from the view of the Duke of Rutland where the line passed Haddon Hall. The tunnel is close to the surface and was, in the main, built by the 'cut and cover' method. So much so that towards its southern end, it is now possible to walk alongside the tunnel at track level, such is the shallowness of the fill and gradient of the slope.
It included five ventilation shafts with one being the full width of the double-track tunnel. Shortly after the headings met on Tuesday 2nd July 1861, an arch collapsed killing three men and a boy, wounding another so seriously that he died the following day (see picture below). John Millington, George Buckley, James Bird, James Clarke and the young Alfred Plank are honoured by a simple memorial in the churchyard at Rowsley. The railway paid £100 (equivalent to £8,781 in 2016) compensation to each of their families.