East Midlands Ranger Area Stations #14 & #15 – Ambergate and Whatstandwell

The latest adventure in my quest to visit all the railway stations in the East Midlands Ranger Area continued today, Wednesday 29th May 2019. Before I tell you all about it, it came to my attention yesterday that there are actually 76 stations on the list, and not 75. Ilkeston railway station was opened in 2017, but the map on the National Rail Enquiries website hasn’t been updated since 2008.

Anyway, back to the trains. I began at Burton on Trent station, as always. I actually got an earlier train to the one I was meant to get. It arrived soon after I got to the station, so I thought there was no point in waiting another six minutes for a train that is going to the same place that I was going to (Derby).

When I got to Derby station, I had a bit of a wander around the platform while waiting for the service towards Matlock. The platform soon became busy with families and other people, some of whom were presumably on their way to Matlock or Matlock Bath for a day out.

The train soon arrived, and it was packed. I managed to get a seat, so it wasn’t too bad. There were a lot of excited children on the train. I don’t blame them, at that age it’s fun to travel on trains. I’m sure that as they get older and possibly have to commute to work on them every day, it won’t be as much fun.

The train made its way up the Derwent Valley Line, stopping at Duffield and Belper, and then at Ambergate. Very few people got off the train at those stations. I alighted at Ambergate, my plan being to walk up the A6 road up to Whatstandwell, and then get the train back from there.

Ambergate railway station.
See, I told you. It is definitely Ambergate railway station.

Ambergate station is a simple railway station comprising a platform and some waiting shelters. And a car park. There is also some interesting information boards giving a bit of history of the place, and the Derwent Valley area in general. It wasn’t always such a small station, though. It used to be a triangular station, with lines over to Chesterfield and Manchester. However, declining railway traffic in the 1960s meant that the line to Chesterfield was closed, and the former station buildings were demolished in 1970. Ambergate was actually listed for closure under the Beeching Axe in the late 1960s, but was reprieved. The station today is unrecognisable from its heyday in the 20th century.

It was around a 45 minute walk up to Whatstandwell from Ambergate station. I’d like to say that it was a lovely and peaceful walk in the sunshine, but the A6 is a major road, and so there were lorries and cars thundering down the road all the time. Also, the weather was quite cool, not as warm as it has been. It was also cloudy, which was disappointing. I was hoping for a bit of sunshine to accompany me on the trip, but it wasn’t to be.

Derbyshire looks amazing. Probably better with blue skies and sunshine, though.

Not a lot happened on the way up the road. I soon reached Whatstandwell, and passed the station on the way to the village itself. I was about 50 minutes early for the train, or ten minutes late. Either way, I had a bit of time in Whatstandwell, so I went for a little explore around the station, and took a few pictures:

The footbridge leads up to the Cromford Canal towpath, which runs alongside part of the railway line. It also leads to a very steep path up to the village. Fortunately for me, I went downhill towards the station when I was having a little explore around the village of Whatstandwell.

As you can see from the pictures above, Whatstandwell station used to have a second platform, but it was closed at some point, and replaced by a nice floral display around the station name board. The current station was opened in 1894 (hence the 1894-1994 sign pictured). Trains run north to Matlock, and south towards Newark Castle, via Derby and Nottingham. There is artwork by children from a local school, which I always like to see at a station. The station also has a board with information on the history of the station, as well as the usual timetables and tourist information. The original station house is next to the station, but this is now a private residence.

Bang on time, my train home arrived, so I got on it and headed back to Derby. Thankfully, this one wasn’t as busy as the train up was. I changed trains at Derby with no bother, and then went back home. It was a great morning out, and I highly recommend a trip to Ambergate and Whatstandwell. That’s 15 stations out of 76 done, almost one-fifth of the list completed.


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