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Figure 1: DMU Chilwell Workmens train at Kirkby-in-Ashfield East station in 1965. Photo Credit: Keith Murray collection

Last Passenger train at Station Street 1965

Following the withdrawal of regular passenger rail services between Nottingham and Worksop from 12th October 1964, Kirkby-in-Ashfield East station on Station Street became an unstaffed halt for the remaining daily unadvertised Chilwell workmens train. The train took workers to the Army Ordnance Depot at Chilwell and ran via the Pye Bridge line on which regular passenger services between Mansfield and Ambergate were withdrawn from 16th July 1947 just prior to nationalisation of the railways. Passenger excursion trains continued to use the Kirkby to Pye Bridge line into the 1960’s. 

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Figure 2: DMU Kirkby to Chilwell workmens train at Kirkby-in-Ashfield East station in 1965. Photo Credit: Kirkby Heritage Centre

Last off this service reverted to a Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) with the very last departure thought to be the 06.11 Kirkby-in-Ashfield to Nottingham Midland service on Saturday 4th September 1965. From 6th September 1965, the service terminated at Pye Bridge station on the Erewash Valley line. Pye Bridge would only be open a short time after this as local services between Nottingham Midland and Sheffield Midland finished on 31st December 1966.

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Figure 3: Ivatt Class 2 No 46501 leaving Mansfield Town station with the Chilwell workmens train in the late 1950’s Photo Credit- Frank Ashley (SB2K Archive)

In the mid 1950’s this service was overseen by Mansfield loco shed and they used an Ivatt 4-6-0 Class 2 No. 46501 for the Chilwell workmens train. The loco was allocated there especially for this job. On the DVD to accompany the magazine, British Steam Railways No. 41, (2006), former Kirkby loco fitter, Alen Grice, talked of being loaned out from Kirkby Loco Shed to Mansfield Loco Shed to work on 46501. In between workmens train duties, the Ivatt Class 2 was used by 16A Nottingham Loco Shed for various duties. At weekends, it was used on Nottingham – Worksop services and occasionally on excursions. Kirkby took over the duties for the Chilwell workmens train following the closure of Mansfield Loco Shed in 1960 until the advent of DMU’s last off.

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Figure 4:  17.20 SX Nottingham Midland to Kirkby DMU after arrival at Kirkby-in-Ashfield East on 3rd September 1965. Photo Credit: Kirkby Heritage Centre

Fig.4 (above) shows the last schedule midweek Chilwell workmans train at Kirkby-in-Ashfield East station on 3rd September 1965. The adornment being removed from the front of the DMU is presumably a last run headboard and ribbon. 

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Figure 5: Withdrawal Notice for Kirkby-in-Ashfield East, September 1965. Photo Credit: Kirkby Library

The British Railways Board put an advertisement in the 9th September 1965 edition of the Nottingham Evening Post (Fig 5) to inform of the withdrawal of the Chilwell workmens service from 6th September 1965.

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Figure 6: Midland General Ripley to Mansfield B7 service on Low Moor Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield in the early 1960’s. Photo Credit: Kirkby Heritage Centre

Alternative bus services by the Midland General Omnibus Company were as follows;

B3  Alfreton, Somercotes, Selston, Nottingham

B6  Mansfield, Kirkby (Nags Head), Eastwood, Langley Mill.

B7  Mansfield, Kirkby Cross, Selston, Jacksdale, Ripley

C2  Mansfield, Kirkby Cross, Alfreton

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Figure 7: Kirkby-in-Ashfield East railway station circa 1966 following closure of passenger services. Photo Credit: David Lowe

Anderson and Cupit (2000) commented that it was appropriate that the old Mansfield and Pinxton route, the Kirkby to Pye Bridge line, saw the last passenger trains in view that it had carried the first. The line through the centre of Kirkby-in-Ashfield at Station Street remained open until early April 1972 when the Kirkby deviation came into being. Following the withdrawal of the Chilwell workmens train, it would be another thirty-one years before Kirkby-in-Ashfield came back on the national passenger rail network with the opening of Kirkby-in-Ashfield station on the Robin Hood line on 18th November 1996.  (see Blog, ‘First Ticket at Kirkby since 1964’  https://www.kirkbysteam.co.uk/first-ticket-at-kirkby-in-ashfield-since-1964/ )                                     


Anderson, P.   Forgotten Railways: The East Midlands, 1973


Anderson, P. & Cupit, J.  An Illustrated History of Mansfield Railways, 2000.


British Steam Railways No. 41 and accompanying DVD, 2006.


Hurst, G.  The Midland Railway around Nottinghamshire, 1987


Rail Correspondence and Travel Society, Kirkby-in-Ashfield Station, www.rcts.org.uk


Blog by David Amos

Posted by SB2K Admin

23rd November 2022.

Reply from Alan Thorne 

Alan Thorne, a former Mansfield resident, added some additional information about the ‘Last Train at Station Street 1965’ blog which was received by the SB2K admin on 2nd March 2024.

I was delighted to read your “Last Passenger train at Station Street 1965” blog and I would like to add a couple of further thoughts if I may.

I believe that two distinct services are in fact represented here and that the DMU seen at Kirkby-in-Ashfield East station in 1965 was the successor not to the Chilwell workmen’s train but to a long standing publicly available service that had run between Mansfield Town and Nottingham Midland via Pye Bridge, Long Eaton and Attenborough for many years, cut back to Kirkby as you state when the Mansfield line closed in October 1964.

The actual Chilwell workmen’s train, for which in earlier years Ivatt 2-6-0 No. 46501 had been kept at Mansfield shed, was a separate unadvertised service that had run at 06:00 from Langwith to Chilwell Depot and returned at 16:48 to Elmton & Creswell until withdrawn after operation on 1 November 1963.  This train travelled via Hucknall and the North and South Junctions at Lenton to approach Attenborough from the north-east (i.e. the opposite direction to the other train) and terminated within Chilwell Depot itself.  Frank Ashley’s magnificent picture of No. 46501, which also features on the front cover of one of Bill Taylor’s books, is described by Mr. Taylor as an excursion as opposed to the Chilwell service itself and is presumably being worked by the nicely presented 46501 as a weekend job.

I hope these thoughts are of some use and I am sure that I join many others in congratulating all of you on your marvellous work in preserving these valuable memories.  I am not particularly a bus enthusiast but the colour picture of a Guy Arab on the B7 travelling along an almost empty Low Moor Road is a wonderful bonus!

Kind regards

Alan Thorne (former Mansfield resident)