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Fig 1: Alfreton and Mansfield Parkway Station when newly opened in 1973. Photo Credit: Notts Free Press collection

 

Alfreton and Mansfield Parkway Station: 50th anniversary of opening

Fifty years ago, on 7th May 1973, Alfreton and Mansfield Parkway station opened. Located on the former Midland Railway’s Erewash Valley line, it was built on the site of the former Alfreton and South Normanton Station, which officially closed on 2nd January 1967 following the withdrawal of local rail passenger services between Nottingham Midland and Sheffield Midland.

Following the mass rail passenger closures in the 1960’s, the Ashfield and Mansfield regions lacked a direct rail service. Rail passenger services through Kirkby-in-Ashfield finished on 10th October 1964 with the withdrawal of the Nottingham Midland to Worksop service. The nearest passenger stations to the town after this was at Nottingham to the south, Chesterfield to the north-west and Worksop to the north. Alfreton and Mansfield Parkway helped fill the void, embracing the Ashfield, Mansfield and Alfreton regions, which had a joint population of circa 200,000 at the time.

Robin Hood Line

Fig 2: Richard Marsh, BRB Chairman, waves the first train out of Alfreton and Mansfield Parkway station on 7th May 1973. Photo Credit: Notts Free Press collection

Richard Marsh, Chairman of the British Railway Board (BRB) waved off the first train, a £1 per head first class excursion to London. Five further excursion trains sold out well in advance and subsequent rail excursions included ventures all around Britain and to the continent in conjunction with Sealink.

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Fig 3: Northbound Merrymaker rail excursion arrives at Alfreton and Mansfield Parkway in 1981. Photo Credit: David Amos

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Fig 4: Return ticket for a weekend rail excursion to Scotland, 10th April 1981. Photo Credit: David Amos

Merrymaker rail excursion calling at Alfreton and Mansfield Parkway proved popular through the rest of the 1970’s and the 1980’s. The author travelled on weekend overnight excursions to Scotland and day excursions to Weymouth, Paignton, Cumbria and steam heritage railways all over Britain.

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Fig 5: HST at Alfreton and Mansfield Parkway on a Sheffield – London St Pancras service in the early 1980’s. Photo Credit: David Amos

On opening, the station was served by seven up and eight down trains providing through services to London St Pancras, Glasgow, Leeds. Sheffield, Nottingham and Leicester. At the time, some of the direct London services travelled the Erewash Valley route via Toton.

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Fig 6: Alfreton and Mansfield Parkway station sign in 1982. Photo Credit: Notts Free Press collection.

When Stage 2 of the Robin Hood Line opened in November 1995, the Mansfield Parkway bit of the name was dropped and the station reverted to just Alfreton. Stories circulated that some of the Alfreton and Mansfield Parkway station signs started to go missing prior to this! Currently, Alfreton is served by East Midland Railway’s Norwich – Liverpool service and Northern Rail’s Nottingham – Leeds service.

 

Post by David Amos

7th May 2023