Steaming back to Kirkby Loco – Book Review

I’m a Kirkby lad although I’ve not lived there since 1964. I’m talking about Kirkby-In-Ashfield Nottinghamshire by the way.

The other day I ordered a booklet titled ‘Steaming Back To Kirkby Loco – Poetry & Motion’ by Keith Murray and David Amos. To be honest I was not sure what would be mailed back to me but at £3.50 including postage it was worth a punt to try to reconnect myself with my childhood train watching with Grandad Walter Calladine at the Town’s former level crossing on Station Street. I’ve blogged about my memories of this previously and here’s a couple of links:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/01/29/where-i-caught-the-train-bug/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/07/20/the-place-where-it-all-started-kirkby-in-ashfield-station/

So to the booklet which I note has been supported in its production by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It includes quite a number of photos which I’d not seen before of Kirkby Motive Power Depot, the adjacent Kirkby-in-Asfield Station (East) and Summit Colliery. Many of these photos are in the Care of Kirkby Heritage Centre which has a shop unit on Kingsway in the Town. But the interesting twist in this booklet is that much of the story of the loco shed and those who worked at it is told using poetry and prose and it’s done very well too. There’s a colour photo on page 42 of The Station Street level crossing in the early 1960’s by Graham Upchurch with people standing at the gates watching and waiting for a train to pass and gates to open again. That shot could easily have me as a 4 to 6 year old and Grandad Walter in it.

My uncle Ken Calladine was I understand a driver on the railway and I think he was based at Kirkby Shed. Unfortunately I don’t know any detail of his work but maybe someone out there can fill in the blanks?

I enjoyed the booklet which really did reconnect me with my childhood in Kirkby and my lifelong love of trains. On the very last page there’s a couple of photos of Keith Murray’s OO scale model of Kirkby Loco Shed and Kirkby-in-Ashfield Station (East) at a 2019 Elizabethan Model Railway Society event. I’d really love to see that………. I’ve found a You Tube video from an exhibition held by the Society back in 2018 and if you run the video from 9 minutes in you’ll see the excellent Kirkby layout:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=3f6fRAAp0IQ

Well worth the read, if you have a connection with Kirkby-in-Ashfield. I gained my copy by sending a £3.50 cheque payable to Mine2Minds Education and included my contact details and address to David Amos, Mine2Minds Education, 46 Lawrence Avenue, Eastwood, NG16 3LD

And if you have a moment have a look and listen to this song on You Tube Video by Dave Goulder all about the famous Kirkby turntable accident:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hGxj0OdS2I

The place where it all started – Kirkby In Ashfield Station

Visitors to this site will realise that I have a great love for trains and I was delighted to purchase an old photo of a place where my Grandad Walter used to take me as a toddler to the watch trains go by.

41940 Kirkby in Ashfield Station 1951 P

This is the very spot in Kirkby In Ashfield as Walter Calladine lived only yards away down Urban Road. I would think my visits to this now long gone station and level crossing started when I was around 2 in 1960. This shot was actually taken in 1951 some 9 years earlier but I bet the scene remained pretty much the same.

Credit for the photo goes to Frank Ashley, a local Kirkby historian, who is sadly no longer with us I understand.

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