East Midlands Ranger Area Stations #19 & #20 – Sutton-in-Ashfield and Kirkby-in-Ashfield

Good day to you. I said in the previous post that it would be my last train trip of the summer, but I lied. The weather today seemed good for a train journey and a chance to bag two more stations on my quest to visit all 76 stations in the East Midlands Ranger Area, taking me up to a nice round 20 stations.

When planning these trips, I always try to find two stations within walking distance of one another, so I can tick both off my list in one journey. I did it before with Matlock and Matlock Bath, and also with Ambergate and Whatstandwell. Today, Monday 1st July 2019, I turned my attention to the Robin Hood Line, in Nottinghamshire. I found that Sutton Parkway in Sutton-in-Ashfield was just a half hour walk away from Kirkby-in-Ashfield station, so I booked a ticket to Sutton Parkway.

The journey started, as usual, at Burton on Trent. I caught the fast train up to Nottingham, which only stopped at Derby en route. Nottingham Station is fantastic, in my opinion. I have been there a couple of times before, and if I complete the 76 stations, then I will have to go there a few times. It retains its original red brick and iron look from when it was built in 1904, but it also has a modern feel to it. It was extensively remodelled in the 2010s, and unfortunately part of it caught fire in early 2018.

The view from platform 5a at Nottingham.
The view from the train.

My next train to Sutton Parkway was on the other end of the platform which I alighted at, which is always handy. There wasn’t a long wait between my trains, and the East Midlands Trains service towards Mansfield Woodhouse soon arrived. Today may have been the last time I travel with EMT, as their franchise runs out this summer, and they are being replaced with the imaginatively-named East Midlands Railway from August 2019.

Anyway, back to the journey. The train made its way up the Robin Hood Line, which was reopened in the 1990s after being closed to passenger traffic by Dr. Beeching in the 1960s. The Nottingham Express Transit (NET) tram lines run alongside part of the railway, and a couple of the stations serve both trams and trains. Sutton Parkway isn’t one of them, however.

Sutton Parkway, in Sutton-in-Ashfield, is a small station located about two miles from the town centre. It was opened in 1995 and saw almost 200,000 passengers use it in 2017-18. It has few facilities, just a couple of shelters, a car park and ticket machines,

Sutton Parkway, as photographed from the road bridge nearby.

My plan was to walk from there down to Kirkby-in-Ashfield and get the train back from there. As is the norm with these trips, I started off walking the wrong way before consulting Google Maps and then turning around. It’s a good job I have Google Maps, or I would probably still be there now. The journey to Kirkby was fairly uneventful, I just passed through an industrial estate and then some shops and houses, before I found myself in the town centre. It seems like a nice place with plenty of shops and amenities. I found it a bit tricky to find the railway station, but I got there in the end.

Kirkby-in-Ashfield station opened in November 1996. The town had been served by three other stations until they were closed in the 1960s. None of them exist any more, though. It’s very similar to Sutton Parkway in terms of facilities and the way it looks. I had a short wait for my train back to Nottingham, so I just took the photos above and stood and waited for the train. It soon arrived (a minute late, but that was fine), and I got on it. I changed at Nottingham and made my way back to Burton on Trent.

20 stations down, 56 to go. Thanks for reading.