Journal Contents 2006

Issue no. 31 — Summer 2006

Cover photo: A station at West House opened on 1st May 1862 when the Erewash Valley line was extended from Pye Bridge to Clay Cross, but was not successful and closed on 1st August 1865. Traffic potential obviously improved and a new station named Westhouses & Blackwell opened on the same site on 17th October 1881. The presence of coal led to the laying of various sidings in the area, and Westhouses soon became a thriving railway centre. In 1898, for example, the Midland Railway erected a school that could hold 270 pupils, at a cost of £5,000. This photograph shows a group of passengers at the northern end of the Down platform, with the Booking Office, which was at street level, behind. See also the article on the Erewash Valley passenger services and facilities. [photo A. Knighton collection]

Back cover: In 1906 the Midland Railway ventured into tramway operation, with the opening of the Burton & Ashby Light Railways — the title being in plural initially due to the system being projected as 4 separate, though linked, lines. The Manager throughout the tramway’s existence was James Toulmin. Here we have the front and back of a postcard sent to Toulmin from W.H.C. Clay, the Midland’s Estate Agent at Derby, acknowledging correspondence about the watercourse near to the tramway’s power station. The cards appear to have been printed in December 1913, although this one was not posted until 1921. Note that Clay’s office did not put sufficient stamps on the card and that a postage due stamp was also added at Swadlincote. The tramway closed down on 19th February 1927. [G. Waite collection]

Issue no. 32 — Autumn 2006

Cover photo: This rather bleak picture of Hunnington on the Great Western & Midland Joint Halesowen branch could be taken as a metaphor for this line’s contribution to the Midland’s revenues. After a long gestation the Halesowen Railway had opened in 1883 and was operated jointly from the first and absorbed in 1906. The passenger revenue was so meagre that the station lost its signal box in 1888 and most trains ran mixed. Had it not been for the establishment of the Longbridge factory it would have probably closed in 1917 but regular passenger services only survived two more years. However, GWR (later BR) workmen’s trains lasted until 1958 and goods until 1964. The Longbridge bound loco is a Johnson 0–4–4T from Bournville shed and is fitted with the rather inefficient hot water system of carriage heating. The date is between 1903 and c1906. [Photograph J. Alsop collection : notes by Peter Witts]

Back cover: A letter from the Telegraph Department of the General Superintendent’s Office at Derby advising the telegraph arrangements to be introduced on the replacement of Matlock North and South signal boxes by a new box situated between the two. A letter from the same department on the previous day stated that the new signal box ‘will be connected with the Derby — Rowslev (superimposed) and Rowslev — Matlock Bath telephone circuits. The call signal for Matlock will be “N”. i.e. one long and one short’. Revised circuit cards were enclosed with the letter. [W. Skevington collection]

Issue no. 33 — Winter 2006

Cover photo: Sparkling windows and creeper clad walls are not things normally associated with the steam locomotive shed but this was the Midland! Hasland had opened in 1875 and introduced a much plainer style of roundhouse. It predominately served the North Derbyshire coalfield and there was a complex of freight only branches nearby. This picture of neatness would change considerably in later years as coal was to prove its (literal) undoing as subsidence was a big problem. The date is between April and December 1907. The shed had a complement of some sixty engines during this period mostly Kinky and Johnson 0–6–0s. Centre stage is a Johnson or Kirtley / rebuilt Johnson 2–4–0 and is probably one of Hasland’s own stud of about twelve of these engines. Somewhat typically the smokebox paint is badly burnt. Johnson 0–6–0 No. 3171 is a visitor and was at Belle Vue (Manchester) about this time. [Photo C. Goodlad collection: notes by Peter Witts]

Back cover: Much of this circular — which is obviously aimed at the Scottish market — is self-explanatory, but it does bring out a number of interesting points. The Midland was extolling the virtues of the Pullman carriages, but had not yet introduced dining facilities. One can only speculate about the busy scene at Normanton with a large number of passengers requiring refreshment. But then you had to think about the Up passengers who had joined the trains at Leeds, who would hardly be hungry and have to amuse themselves for half an hour — or the Down Leeds passengers who were being delayed so near to their destination. Note that connections with stations on the L&Y system were originally via Skipton, the link via Hellifield and Blackburn not being brought into use until June 1880. The Midland certainly endeavoured to link the S&C — which opened on 1st May 1876 — with the principal parts of its system. [L. Knighton collection]