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.
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:-
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.