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.

Kirkby-In-Ashfield – Where I caught the train bug

Kirkby In Ashfield East Station

This is Kirkby in Ashfield East Station. It was a couple of hundred yards from my Grandad’s Urban Road terraced house in the Nottinghamshire (former) mining town where I was born and lived until the age of 6.

He took me to watch the trains at this very spot in the early 1960’s. Sadly there is no longer a railway or station here but just along the road, probably less than half a mile away, Kirkby has a new station (see photo below) on the Robin Hood Line.

IMG_2575 r

Click on the photos to enlarge them

The photos are amongst my flickr shots at:-

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

Is Skelmersdale really going to get a railway station?

As a railway enthusiast, a member of OPSTA and someone who can’t get his head around why when planning this New Town the railway was torn up, the plans of Lancashire County Council and West Lancs Borough Council to correct the errors to the past are fascinating.

Firstly a photo of the old Skelmersdale Station which I purchased recently:-

rsz_skelmersdale_station_-_undated

And Wikipedia says:-
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skelmersdale_railway_station

So what’s the plan? To put it simply to take a spur off the Kirkby – Wigan line right into the heart of Skem’.

Is it a runner? Well money and a lot of it is the big issue, probably a £100m plus or minus project. It costs a lot for what can only been seen as a monumental mistake of the 1960’s.

Whether it will be a value for money project when stacked up against other railway investment projects is hard to say but I rank it as being in a similar category to the Robin Hood Line in Nottinghamshire which brought what was then one of the largest Towns in England without a railway station (Mansfield) back onto the railway map in the 1990’s.

Lancashire County and West Lancs Borough can’t be said to be leaders of innovative railway developments. Their lack of campaigning over the years for the Burscough Curves (which could reconnect the Ormskirk – Preston and Southport – Wigan lines) and the County Council seemingly being lukewarm over the much needed investment in the Southport – Wigan line do make you wonder if they have determination to see this challenging project through.

There is a long way to go with this project and I really do hope it is a runner as opposed to a project with a lot of political froth around it but one heading for the sidings.

The photo above is amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/