Oral history workshop
Figure 1: Trackbed embankment of the 1819 Mansfield and Pinxton Railway near to Portland Park (The Quarries) at Kirkby-in-Ashfield in the early 1990’s. Bentinck Colliery Rapid Loading Bunker and Coal Preparation Plant are in the background.   Photo Credit: David Amos

The Mansfield and Pinxton Railway at Kirkby-in-Ashfield.

Kirkby-in-Ashfield’s first railway was the Mansfield and Pinxton Railway, which opened on 17th April 1819. The eight-mile long horse drawn railway ran from Pinxton Wharf on a branch of the Cromford Canal to Portland Wharf at Mansfield. Locally the railway was known as the Mansfield and Pinxton Tramway.

The tramway ran for around thirty years from 1819 to 1849 when it was redeveloped as a conventional standard gauge railway after being purchased by the Midland Railway Co. in 1847. From the early 1850’s it became part of the Kirkby-in-Ashfield to Pye Bridge line linking Kirkby with the Midland Railway’s Erewash Valley line.

Embankments remains of the two hundred year plus railway can be seen in Portland Park, known locally as the Quarries. The Mansfield and Pinxton Railway Bicentenary Project (2019-2021) erected information boards at Kirkby-in-Ashfield along the route of the railway at Kirkby Portland Park, Urban Road near to Aldi and on Lowmoor Road near to Kirkby Summit.

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Figure 2: 1840’s map showing the route of the Mansfield and Pinxton Railway through Kirkby-in-Ashfield. Photo Credit: Kirkby Heritage Centre
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Figure 3: Original 1819 tramway bridge on the Kirkby-in-Ashfield to Pye Bridge freight only line at Mill Lane, Kirkby Woodhouse in the 1980’s. The bridge was replaced in 2001.  Photo Credit: David Amos
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Figure 4: Trackbed embankment of the 1819 Mansfield and Pinxton Railway at Portland Park (The Quarries), Kirkby-in-Ashfield, in 1981. Photo Credit: David Amos
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Figure 5: Trackbed of the 1819 Mansfield and Pinxton Railway approaching Urban Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, in February 2022.
The Mansfield and Pinxton Railway Biicentenary Project installed a series of information boards along the eight- mile route of the railway.  One is situated on Urban Road on the former Mansfield and Pinxton Railway trackbed at the site of what was Kirkby Wharf. Photo Credit: David Amos
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Figure 6: Mansfield and Pinxton Railway Bicentenary Project information board on Urban Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, near to the Aldi store. Photo Credit: David Amos
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Figure 7: 1870’s OS Map of East Kirkby showing the two railway level crossings at Urban Road.  Photo Credit: Kirkby Heritage Centre
The railway crossed Urban Road near to Kirkby Wharf from 1819 to 1892. Following the demise of the tramway in 1849, a standard gauge line ran here until the Midland Railway’s 1892 deviation took the Pye Bridge line from a point in Kirkby Quarries to Kirkby Station Junction to join the Midland’s Leen Valley Nottingham – Mansfield line. The railway crossing house survived until the 1950’s.
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Figure 8: Children at the railway crossing house on Urban Road, East Kirkby, in the early 1950’s.  Photo Credit: Kirkby Heritage Centre.
From the time the Midland Railway’s Leen Valley line reached East Kirkby on 2nd October 1848 until August 1892 there were two railway level crossings on Urban Road.  Following deviation of the Pye Bridge to Kirkby line in August 1892 the level crossing near to the Railway Inn closed. The railway level crossings at Kirkby-in-Ashfield Midland station  at Station Street remained in use almost another eighty years until 2nd April 1972 when the 1972 Kirkby-in-Ashfield deviation line opened.
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Figure 9: Kirkby Wharf on Urban Road, East Kirkby, on the 1819 Mansfield and Pinxton Railway. The cottages later became the Railway Inn. Photo Credit: Kirkby Heritage Centre.
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Figure 10: The Railway Inn on Urban Road in the early 1970’s. A railway ran across the road here from 1819 to 1892. The Railway Inn was controversially demolished in 2004. Photo Credit: Kirkby Heritage Centre.
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Figure 11: Site of Kirkby Wharf and the Railway Inn at Urban Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, in January 2019. Photo Credit: David Amos.
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Fig. 12: 1870’s OS Map showing the junctions of the Midlands Leen Valley and Erewash Valley railway lines at Kirkby Summit. Photo Credit: Kirkby Heritage Centre.
The area to the north of Kirkby-in-Ashfield, formerly East Kirkby, is known locally as the Summit. It gets its name from the Mansfield and Pinxton Railway, which reached the summit of the line here from Pinxton before gradually descending to Mansfield. The present day freight only line from Pye Bridge still reaches the Summit, north of Kirkby-in-Ashfield station on the Robin Hood line.
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Fig. 13: Mansfield and Pinxton Railway Bicentenary Project information board at Kirkby Summit.  Photo Credit: David Amos

The current freight only Kirkby-in-Ashfield to Pye Bridge line which incorporates the route of the 1819 Mansfield and Pinxton Railway is the longest continuous running railway in England, albeit with several deviations during its history.

The Mansfield and Pinxton Railway celebrated its bicentenary in 2019 and a Lottery Heritage Fund project headed by Project Heritage Officer Denis Hill. More details at https://mansfieldandpinxton200.chessck.co.uk/

 

 

Blog posted by David Amos

Steaming Back to Kirkby heritage project

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