My first trip of 2020 began on a dark and cold Saturday morning, January 4th 2020. My destination was Long Eaton, a place I had passed through many times on the train on the way to Nottingham, but today would be the first time I had been there.
The journey began at 6:51am on the Nottingham-bound train from Burton on Trent. I was lucky that my train was even running; some services had been cancelled due to a “shortage of train managers”. By the sound of the guard on my train, he had been dragged out of bed to work on the train. His station announcements were very muted and brief, and he didn’t come around checking tickets.
The train passed through Derby and Spondon before arriving at Long Eaton just after quarter past seven. There wasn’t much to see on the journey there, seeing as it was dark outside. I left the train and headed down the ramp that leads down to the car park.
I had only seen Long Eaton station from the train, and it looked like a basic “platform and shelters only” kind of station, but there’s actually more to it at street level. There is a small station building housing a waiting room and a staffed ticket office. There are also lifts up to both platforms, waiting shelters and ticket machines.
Long Eaton station was opened in 1888 as Sawley Junction. It was the fourth station to be called Long Eaton, the others are no more. East Midlands Railway runs the place, and also provides some services along with Cross Country.
I had a walking route planned before I travelled, and so I left the station and headed eastwards on a road parallel to the railway line. I was looking for the entrance to the Erewash Canal which runs through the town. As it was early in the morning and dark, there was nobody else around. Despite the lack of light, it was still easy to follow the towpath.
After about ten minutes, I was back on the road towards the railway station. There wasn’t enough time to fully explore Long Eaton and the town centre, not that there would have been anywhere to go at that time of the morning, so I just headed back to the railway station to catch the 8:22 service back to Burton.
The dawn was just breaking through the darkness as I waited for the train, which made for a stunning journey back through the countryside of Derbyshire and Staffordshire as the early morning sun lit up the sky.
The train was soon back in Burton, and I was the only one who got off the train. I took the short walk home past the newly (almost) completed bus bays outside the station.
So, that was the first of what will hopefully be many trips out this year. Thanks very much for reading.