At one point in history there were 13 working train stations of note in Ashfield. For an area that was initially a collection of small villages that is certainly a big statement. Industry came knocking on the door of the region when the district became a centre for coal mining, which increased the need for transportation methods. Today, the three train stations are Sutton Parkway, Kirkby in Ashfield, and Hucknall, but before that there were multiple lines and links to other parts of the county and country.
Early transport connections
The earliest transport route that ran through the region was in Kirkby in Ashfield. The route was horse-drawn to make a transport link between Mansfield, in Nottinghamshire, and Pinxton, in Derbyshire. The aim of having the Mansfield and Pinxton Railway line, which opened in 1819, was to bring coal from Derbyshire to Mansfield, as well as transport agricultural lime and stone for buildings. Originally the idea was to extend the Cromford canal to transport goods, but due to insufficient supplies of water the area of Kirkby was used as a stop to Mansfield. The first coal load to arrive in Mansfield in April 1819 was turned into a bonfire in the Market Place as a celebration of the line opening.
In October 1848, Midland Railway rebuilt the horse drawn Mansfield and Pinxton line and opened Kirkby in Ashfield East train station. It became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway in 1923, was nationalised post-war in 1948, and closed in 1965. Kirkby in Ashfield East station was part of the Mansfield Branch Line, which is now the Robin Hood Line. Today, the area’s main station of Kirkby in Ashfield is operated by East Midlands Railway and runs between Nottingham and Worksop. Around the same time, Sutton Junction opened in 1850 on the same line and today is where Sutton Parkway station is located. A second Sutton station was opened in 1892 off Station Road simply called Sutton in Ashfield railway station, again by Midland Railway, which went through the same journey of ownership until it was privatised and shut down in 1956. Today the station site has been demolished and was redeveloped as The Broad Centre Retail Park.
The renaming of stations
Hucknall certainly had its fair share of train stations. Midland Railway opened Hucknall station in 1848 on the same line as Kirkby in Ashfield East and Sutton Junction. It was relocated geographically in 1895 to the present day site of today’s Hucknall station. This station was renamed Hucknall Byron in 1952 to avoid confusion with other Hucknall stations. These included Hucknall Town on the Nottingham to Shirebrook line, run by the Great Northern Railway, and Hucknall Central on the Manchester to London line, run by the Great Central Railway company. Hucknall Town station took on its name in 1923, having opened in 1882 initially as Hucknall, eventually closed in 1965. To add to the confusion, Hucknall Central was originally known as Hucknall Town when it opened in 1899, was renamed in 1923, and closed in 1963.
Confusion was also created with two stations in Teversal - both called Teversall. One was built by Midland Railway in 1886 on a line running south–north from Whiteborough to Pleasley West. This was renamed Teversall Manor in 1950, and shut in 1963. The other Teversall belonged to the Great Northern Railway opening in 1897, was renamed Teversall East in 1953 and shut in 1968. Today, public footpaths and bridleways have been created along these lines.
The Leen Valley lines
The Leen Valley is an area formed by the River Leen in Nottinghamshire, which is known for its historic links to the coal mining industry. The Leen Valley lines were set up by the Great Northern Railway after Midland Railway had been the dominant company in the region. The Leen Valley Line opened in 1881, and although there was a passenger service it carried huge amounts of coal across the area. The Leen Valley Extension Line opened in 1892 and included the Sutton in Ashfield Town railway station, where trains ran from Nottingham Victoria to Shirebrook North. Skegby train station was part of this line and today the disused track lines of this route from Sutton to Skegby to Pleasley is part of the area’s Skegby Trail. As freight and passenger traffic cut down and the collieries shut, the line was used less and closed in 1968.
Kirkby Bentinck station and the collieries
The area of Kirkby in Ashfield changed significantly due to the sinking of two collieries, including Kirkby Colliery opened in 1890 and Bentinck Colliery opened in 1895. A third station that served the area was Kirkby Bentinck that was on the Annesley branch of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company, later known as the Great Central Railway (GCR). It opened in 1893 and was originally called Kirkby Pinxton station and in 1925 it was renamed Kirkby Bentinck due to the thriving Bentinck Colliery. Two years prior in 1923, the station was grouped into the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). The two-platform station closed in 1963 after a decline in rail passengers.
The Central stations and today’s train stations
Mansfield Railway in 1917 opened three new train stations – Mansfield Central, Sutton in Ashfield Central, and Kirkby in Ashfield Central. Just like Kirkby Bentinck station they all became part of the Great Central Railway (GCR), and then the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) and finally the British Railways, which became British Rail, in 1948.
The stations was used for goods and passenger services until 1956. Until 1962 the stations continued with summer weekend rail traffic to destinations including Skegness and Scarborough, and finally shut in 1968. When these lines and stations closed there were no rail services until the new Kirkby in Ashfield station opened in 1996, along the Newstead to Mansfield House line named the Robin Hood Line. As part of this line, Hucknall station opened in 1993 and Sutton Parkway opened in 1995. Discover the old train line routes by heading out on an Ashfield walk or cycle trail across the area.
Teversal Station Loop from Skegby cycle trail
Pleasley Walk trail