Cover photo: Branston Junction signalbox was situated just over 1¼ miles on the Birmingham side of Burton station. This particular structure - a Type 2a box, with the older style enamel name board - was opened on 15th September 1889. The work was probably associated with the opening of a new station, situated slightly to the west, on 1st October. This view, with a permanent way gang in the foreground and, possibly, the Station Master looking from the side window, was taken from a position by the points leading to the No.1 Up Goods line. The covered area behind the two men on the right of the group contained the facing point lock for the Down Goods line. It’s lifting bar can be seen below the box steps. The date is uncertain, but the junction signals suggest that it is after 1901 when the Down Goods line to Dunstall was opened, but before 1912, as the tall disc signal at the right hand end of the box - which acted as an indicator and was worked from a lever stage on Branston station - was removed during that year. [Photo - Society Archive: Notes by Tony Overton]
Rear cover: The Midland’s Publicity Department was second to none in advertising the Company’s facilities. This is the cover of a free booklet produced in connection with the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893 which was available at the Company’s exhibition stand. It contained a brief history of the Midland and its facilities, and a guide to places of interest on the system based around an arrival in Liverpool. There is also a list of photographs on exhibit at the World’s Fair and a fold-out map.
Cover photo: Photographs of trains using the east / west level crossing at Ashchurch are rare. This view looking north shows Compound No. 1038 proceeding from the Tewksbury Line to the Evesham line during early BR days, but still in LMS livery. Ashchurch Level Crossing signalbox is on the Down platform to the right of the picture and was an LMS replacement for the original Midland box which was in the north-west corner of the crossing and would have been behind the tender of No. 1038
Rear cover: A feature of 19th and early 20th century life was the publication of poems to mark particular events or publicise a point of view. This poem, which was framed and is alleged to have been on display in the Sun Inn at Eastwood, would appear to commemorate the introduction of the ten hour day for footplate staff. The working week was based on six days or sixty hours.
Cover photo: This excellent photograph is endorsed at the bottom “First Sunday passenger train on Riplay branch entering Little Eaton station, April 3rd 1910.” What it doesn’t tell us, however, is that the train concerned was relatively short-lived. There were two trains in each direction initially — one at 10.15am from Derby (depicted here), which returned from Ripley at 10.55am, and one which left Derby at 5.40pm and returned fro Ripley at 6.30pm. It would appear that the morning services did not cover its costs and it was omitted from the Winter timetable which commenced in October. The evening services had a much longer life and, in fact, ran for some years after the closure of the line to regular passenger traffic on 1st June 1930 — the primary purpose being the conveyance of milk traffic from the local farms. [Photo C. Champion collection]
Rear cover: When the line opened from Kirkby to Mansfield in October 1849, there was an intermediate station at Sutton (later Sutton-in-Ashfield), albeit some ¾ mile from the town of that name. This remained the case, until 1st May 1893 when the Midland — probably aware of the threat from the Great Northern as it extended up the Lean Valley — introduced passenger services over a recently opened goods branch between the original station (re-named Sutton Junction) and the town. This timetable shows the initial service over the branch.