2020 Travels – Netherfield and Carlton

It’s been a whole month since I ticked off any new stations on the East Midlands Ranger Area Challenge. One intriguing station on my list to visit was Netherfield in Nottinghamshire. It sits on the Nottingham – Skegness line and has a limited service. In fact, if you try to search for a train to Netherfield, it usually tells you to walk there from Carlton, which is on the Nottingham – Lincoln line.

I found that there was a train from Nottingham which stopped at Netherfield at 1750. I usually do these trips in the daytime, when it’s less busy. I decided to do this one on a Saturday evening, when I thought it would be quieter than on a week day.

The journey began, as usual, at Burton on Trent station. It was deserted when I got onto the platform, the only sound was coming from the station manager’s office. He was watching Final Score, the football results service on the BBC.

Arty shot under the bridge at Burton on Trent station, looking towards the north.

The train headed up the track to Nottingham, and arrived there on time. So far, so good. The fun began when I made the long walk over to platform two, only to find that my platform had been altered. Luckily, it was only to platform 3b, which is a short walk away.

My altered platform, 3b at Nottingham.

I had quite a long wait until the train arrived, so I just sat on a bench and waited. It soon arrived, and the train was part of a longer train which split at Nottingham, the other half was heading to Norwich. A small crowd gathered, hoping to board the train, but the East Midlands Railways staff were milling around the train looking concerned. The dot matrix display changed every minute to signify that the train would be another minute late. Eventually, it just said it was “delayed”. The staff were apologetic and told us that we would be able to board in five minutes. This was potentially bad news for me, as I had 18 minutes to travel between Netherfield and Carlton, which is a five minute walk, and we were already delayed by 12 minutes.

I did consider just abandoning the whole thing and getting the next train back to Burton, but I decided to just go for it, even if I had to spend an hour waiting at Carlton for the next train. I boarded the train and sat down. Netherfield was the next stop, just five minutes or so later.

Netherfield station was opened in May 1878. In its long history, it has changed its name several times. It opened as Colwick, and has since been twice renamed Netherfield and Colwick (in 1883 and 1925), and Netherfield (in 1883 and 1974).

The change of name is possibly the most interesting thing about it. There is nothing much there except a waiting shelter, help point and timetable boards. I was only there for a couple of minutes, but its layout as an island platform with a staircase up to the road made me think that it was like Burton on Trent station if the buildings were all removed.

I exited the station via the staircase (it’s the only way out, to be fair) and turned right onto the road which leads over to Carlton station. I looked at the time, and found that my scheduled next train towards Derby had just departed. When I arrived at Carlton, I took a couple of pictures and resigned myself to spending an hour there waiting for the next train home.

Carlton railway station opened in 1846. Like its neighbour down the road in Netherfield, Carlton has also had a few name changes over the years; it began as Carlton and was variously named Carlton and Gedling, Carlton and Netherfield for Gedling and Colwick, Carlton and Netherfield and finally back to Carlton in 1974. Like Bleasby station, also on the same line, Carlton has staggered platforms with a level crossing through the middle. It has the usual small station facilities; shelters, benches and help points.

I thought I would use the “Get Me Home” feature on the National Rail Enquiries app on my phone to see if I could get home any quicker, and by great luck I found that I could. There was a train due back to Nottingham at 1824, from where I could change for Burton and be back home just ten minutes later than my scheduled train. The train arrived a couple of minutes late, but I wasn’t complaining, so I got on board. As if the travel gods were smiling on me for once, my train home at Nottingham was waiting for me on the adjacent platform, so I didn’t have far to go to catch it.

The CrossCountry class… something or other train that took me back home. I forgot to take a note of the number.

There was quite a long wait of about forty minutes before it left, though, but that was better than having to wait an hour at Carlton. It was a bit of a pain that my train to Netherfield was late, but these things happen on trains. The train operating companies want to run trains on time, they don’t cause delays just for fun. There was no harm done in the end for me, so I don’t mind too much.

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