The Mansfield & Pixton Railway

You learn something new every day and what I’ve recently learned is that England’s oldest continuously running commercial railway is one which ran through my former home town of Kirkby-in-Ashfield (Nottinghamshire) and within yards of where my maternal grandparents lived on the Town’s Urban Road prior to it being re-routed in 1892.

I learned all this via a most excellent book ‘The Story of the Mansfield & Pinxton Railway’ (cover photo above) which was written to coincide with the railway’s 200th anniversary in 2019. What’s more despite some re-routing this is a railway that’s still running.

There’s a companion walking guide booklet to go with the hard backed 98 page book and a DVD too. Rarely have I come across such well researched and presented work; all these items are a credit to the volunteers who put them together and the Heritage Lottery Fund who helped finance their project.

My home Town of Kirkby has had a significant and complex railway history and this project looks at one part of that history in considerable detail. The book is illustrated by many historic photographs and a two page spread map which helps you put the Mansfield & Pinxton Line in context with the other railways that were around it. Part of the track bed now forms the railway which the reopened/rebuilt (1993 – 1998) ‘Robin Hood Line’ occupies.

My own photo of the present Kirkby-in-Ashfield Station taken in April 2009.

A few facts about the M&P – The line opened in April 1819 with horse drawn trucks. The first known passenger service along it was in 1832. The Midland Railway bought the M&P in 1847.

I’ve read a lot of railway books and I can really recommend this one; it has been a joy to read.

If you’d like a copy* there’s information on the M&P 200 website about how to obtain one:-

www.mansfieldandpinxton200.btck.co.uk/

Click on the scan or photo to enlarge them

* At just £5 plus £3 P&P for such a beautiful hard back book you can’t go wrong…….

Editor’s Note – I was born on Orchard Road Kirkby-in-Ashfield and lived in the Town until the age of 6 in 1964. I return every now and again as I still have a relative living there. The photo above was taken on one such visit. My maternal grandparents – Walter & Annie Calladine – lived at 31 Urban Road where my Mum Sheila also lived until marriage to my Dad – George – who was from Hampden Street and the son of Bill & Nellie Robertson. I live in ‘exile’ in Lydiate on Merseyside as a consequence of my Dad working in and managing shops for the former travel agents Thomas Cook starting in Nottingham until his retirement from their Southport shop. I’m a railway enthusiast as a consequence of watching trains with Grandad Calladine at the former Station Street level crossing in the early 1960’s.

Bootle – Railway tunnels before and after

I have posted before about former Langton Dock Branch (see link below) that closed a long time ago and for which there is little evidence of it existing these days as you get close to the docks.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/05/09/the-bootle-gas-works-branch-railwaylangton-dock-branch-midland-railway/

But under Bootle Strand Station there is a tunnel which once took this branch under the Liverpool – Southport Line. The tunnel was tall as the line was in a very deep cutting. Recently I came across an old photo of the tunnel in its original guise, so I went to take a photo of the same location now. The differences are considerable.

Gasworks Branch Bootle

rsz_bootle_former_railway_line

The cutting is gone – its been filled in. The tunnel is still there – well at least the top part of it as it is now a pedestrian walk-way from the Strand Shopping Centre to the new(ish) ASDA store. The bridge visible in the old photo, through the tunnel, is that of the one that once took the Langton Dock Branch under Stanley Road

How things change.

The photo’s are amongst those on my Flickr site at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/