Oral history workshop

Fig 1: Kirkby-in-Ashfield Central station circa 1967. Photo Credit: Daid Lowe

Trainspotting Tribulations Part 3: Kirkby Central and Kirkby East railway stations were the reasons I became a lifelong railway enthusiast.

I was born at 14 Orchard Road, Kirkby-In-Ashfield in July 1958 and lived in Kirkby until I was 6 years of age when my family moved to Rochdale. I live in Lydiate on Merseyside now. My Dad hailed from Hampden Street, Kirkby.

My earliest railway memories are of being taken to watch the fish train rattle through Kirkby Central, which was only yards away from our house, and of my granddad Walter Calladine, who lived on Urban Road in one of the terraced houses a couple of doors from the former Children’s Library, taking me to watch trains regularly at the level crossing. I have a vague memory of catching a train at Kirkby East Station where a diesel horn frightened the life out of me.

Robin Hood Line

Fig 2: WD Austerity 2-8-0 passes through Kirkby-in-Ashfield Central station in the 1950’s. Photo Credit: Kirkby Heritage Centre

I was told by my Mum, Sheila Robertson (nee Calladine), who died back in 2008, that when I was quite small I could not be found one day as I’d clearly wandered away from our house. After a little frantic searching it dawned on Mum where I’d probably gone to – the footbridge over the line at Kirkby Central station and indeed I was found there.

My Uncle Ken Calladine worked on the railway and whilst I did not know him well I was told he worked out of Kirkby Loco Shed.

Robin Hood Line

Fig 3: Tony Robertson (right) visits his Kirkby-in-Ashfield railway enthusiast roots with Geoff Chapman on 12th June 2023. Photo Credit: David Amos

Just a few weeks ago I came back to Kirkby and together with Geoff Chapman and David Amos we had a walk around some of the former railway sites in the town. Geoff and I also rode on the Robin Hood Line, which was a first for me. We met up at Kirkby Heritage Centre which is a fascinating place to visit and I was happy to make a small donation to its upkeep costs.

Robin Hood Line

Fig 4: Hornby OO gauge 8F 48073 on Keith Murray’s 1950’s themed static model of Kirkby-in-Ashfield Loco Shed. Photo Credit: David Amos

These days I’m a trustee of the Frank Hornby Charitable Trust which is based in Maghull on Merseyside where world famous toy maker Frank Hornby lived for much of his adult life. It was great to pick up a Hornby Dublo 8F model recently which is numbered for an 8F once stabled at Kirkby Shed.


Blog by Tony Robertson

Posted by SB2K admin – 13th August 2023