On a fine and sunny Thursday in July, I decided to try and knock out another two stations on my quest to visit all 76 stations in the East Midlands Ranger Area. After some Google Map searching, I found that Bingham and Aslockton are within an hour’s walking distance, so I booked myself a ticket to Aslockton.
It was a fine morning at Burton on Trent station while I waited for my first train. The overgrown area between the two platforms was cleared a couple of months ago, but it’s grown back now. The exciting news is that the area around the front of the station is to be improved this summer, with proper bus laybys and waiting shelters.
The train was a minute late, but I will let them off. Within about forty minutes, I was in Nottingham. The journey there was uneventful, although the countryside looked lovely in the summer sunshine. My train to Bingham was already at the other end of the platform, which was handy. A strange thing happened, though. I have never had to actually queue to get on to a train before, but there was a queue for the train. Only about two dozen people were getting on, though. The train was bound for the holiday town of Skegness, so I would imagine that it’s because it’s popular during the school holidays and they can only let a certain amount of people on the train at one time. Also, on the route between Nottingham and Bingham, I saw an amusing sign on the side of a building. It was an arrow pointing towards Skegness, and it said “have a nice time” in capital letters. I wish I had taken a picture of it.
I boarded the train, and rode the one stop to Bingham. The gap between the train and platform is about a foot, which the guard helpfully warned me about, so that I didn’t go sprawling all over the platform. Only one other person got off. I went up the footbridge to the other side, and took a couple of pictures while I was there:
Bingham station was opened in 1850. The former station buildings as seen in the top photo are now private businesses, and the station is unstaffed. There are waiting shelters, help points and a small car park. It saw almost 70,000 passengers in 2018/19, an increase of nearly 30,000 in just five years.
When I left the station, I walked down to the market square. The market was in full swing when I got there, but I didn’t have a look around. In the centre of the square is the Butter Cross, an old market cross. As a fan of the 1980s TV series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, I was in familiar territory, as it was right here where the scenes in series two involving Barry and Oz getting caught by a gamekeeper were filmed in 1985. I had a quick walk around the area and popped into a shop to buy myself a bottle of water and a sandwich for lunch. I found a bench on the edge of the town in front of a mural and ate my sandwiches before setting off on the main road towards Aslockton.
It was a fine and warm day on the walk up to Aslockton. It was quite peaceful, apart from the lorries on the main road thundering past every few minutes. They take their fitness seriously in Nottinghamshire, judging by the amount of joggers and cyclists who passed me on the road to Aslockton. I passed by the village of Whatton-in-the Vale on the way. They don’t welcome reckless drivers there.
I arrived at the village about half an hour before my train was due. I was dismayed to see a level crossing between the platforms. I am terrified that one day I will go over one and the barriers will come down before I have reached the other side. I crossed safely over, but then I saw a sign saying that trains towards Nottingham were on the other side, so I had to cross back over.
Aslockton station consists of two platforms, with a modern shelter on the Grantham-bound side and what looks like an old signal box on the other side which is used as a waiting room. It is adorned by artwork from the local school depicting a map of the village, a mural celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and a couple of others.
Aslockton railway station opened at the same time as Bingham station in 1850. Aside from the waiting shelters and the help points, it has very few amenities. There is a small car park next to the former station buildings, which are now no longer used.
I waited for half an hour in the peaceful sunshine for my train back to arrive. Only one other passenger boarded the 1300 service to Nottingham. It soon took me back to Nottingham, where I caught the train back to Burton.
I recommend a trip to Bingham, especially on market day, as I’m sure there are some bargains to be had. There’s plenty of cafes, a couple of pubs and places to see, including the Church of St. Mary and All Saints. There are also a lot of estate agents for some reason, so you could maybe also snap up a house while you are there.
That’s 22 stations ticked off the list, 54 to go. I am not planning any more trips until September, but you never know when I might be able to fit one in, so keep following the blog. Thanks for reading.