East Midlands Ranger Area Stations #7 & #8 – Tutbury & Hatton and Uttoxeter

While I was compiling the new index page for the blog, I noticed that I hadn’t done a post covering my trip to Tutbury & Hatton and Uttoxeter on 29th March 2019. Today, I right this wrong.

A month after the Cromford adventure, I decided to tick off the next two stations on the list, Tutbury & Hatton and Uttoxeter. These are two of the closest stations to Burton on Trent; Tutbury is around four miles from Burton station, and Uttoxeter is about twelve. Until 1949, it was possible to catch a train direct from Burton to both stations, but the line was closed along with Horninglow, Stretton & Claymills and Rolleston-on-Dove railway stations. To get to Tutbury & Hatton station from Burton on Trent today, you would have to change at Derby station. Most travellers between the two places would catch the bus, as there is a regular service.

My plan was to walk up to Hatton (the village where the station is located) and catch the train, ride it one stop to Uttoxeter and then catch the bus back to Burton. I bought my ticket from Burton station (Tutbury & Hatton has no ticket machine) and set off on the hour and a half walk up to the station.

The weather was glorious, a warm and sunny spring day. I walked up past Burton’s Queen’s Hospital and up the hill towards where the Co-op is, then down Tutbury Road towards the Beam Hill roundabout. After that, it was pretty much straight on towards Tutbury, through open countryside and farmland. There is a pavement adjacent to the road, thankfully, so I didn’t have to walk in the road at all.

When I approached the village of Tutbury, it looked amazing in the sunshine, with the castle ruins high up on the hill. I walked through the village towards Hatton, which is just across the bridge over the River Dove. I didn’t have a lot of time to stop off anywhere, otherwise I would have missed my train. I walked over the bridge over the River Dove, and then towards the station. In the waiting shelter on the platform, there was some artwork done by local children who have disabilities, which was quite interesting to see. I waited a while for the train to arrive. I thought I would be on my own, but a woman with a suitcase arrived just before the train came, and a young couple came as well. We all got on the single coach train, and sat down. It wasn’t full, but there weren’t a lot of seats to be had. I just sat down on the nearest seat by the door, seeing as I was only going to be on the train for ten minutes.

Tutbury & Hatton station. The old signal box is in the centre of the picture.

Tutbury & Hatton station was first opened in September 1848 on the Crewe-Derby line. As you may have guessed by the name, it serves the village of Tutbury, most famous for the spectacular ruins of Tutbury Castle and formerly famous for Tutbury Crystal, which is no longer produced in the village. It also serves, and is located in, Hatton, just across the River Dove and across the county border in Derbyshire. Hatton is famous for Nestle’s Tutbury factory.

Tutbury & Hatton station was originally closed as part of the Beeching cuts in 1966 and the original station buildings were demolished, although the signal box at the level crossing remains. The North Staffordshire Railway’s Derbyshire & Staffordshire Extension line used to run directly between Tutbury & Hatton and Burton on Trent stations, with intermediate stations at Rolleston on Dove, Stretton and Horninglow, but these stations all closed in 1949. For a while after that, an excursion train known as the “Tutbury Jinnie” ran between Tutbury & Hatton and Burton on Trent stations, but this ended in 1960 and the line was uplifted in the 1960s. A nature trail called the “Jinnie Trail” now runs from the sites of Stretton station to Rolleston on Dove station. Tutbury & Hatton station was reopened in April 1989, with platforms either side of the level crossing on the main road into Hatton. There is a regular hourly service between Crewe and Derby stations during the week, with a Sunday afternoon service after 2pm.

The train eventually slowed down at Uttoxeter, and I got up to wait for it to stop. When it stopped, I got off and walked over the footbridge to the platform on the other side.

Uttoxeter railway station.

Uttoxeter was formerly served by three railway stations from 1849, but these were all closed and replaced in 1881 with a station at the current site on the eastern edge of the town, adjacent to the famous Uttoxeter Racecourse. The station has minimal facilities; a waiting shelter on each platform, information boards and help points. The original station buildings burned down in the 1980s and were never rebuilt. Uttoxeter is the closest railway station to Alton Towers theme park, and there is a regular bus service to the park during the summer months.

The town itself, the name of which is pronounced “you-talk-sitter”, is most famous for the aforementioned horse racing course, home to the annual Midlands Grand National meeting. It is also where the world famous heavy machinery manufacturing company JC Bamford (JCB) was founded, and also the birthplace of Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Adam Peaty.

I left the station and walked up to the town centre, or what’s left of it since a retail park opened on the edge of town. I had been in Uttoxeter once before, so I knew my way around a little bit. I bought myself a sandwich and a bottle of water, and went out looking for somewhere to sit and eat it.

I found a bench near a road junction that was quite near the bus station. I sat down, ate my sandwich and had a drink of water, then walked back into town. I didn’t really have anything else to do in Uttoxeter, and I was a little tired from the walk to Hatton, so I decided to catch the next bus back to Burton.The bus meandered its way back to Burton, through various pretty villages, including Abbots Bromley, Newborough and Anslow, before it got stuck in traffic back in Burton on Waterloo Street. After what seemed like an age, it got out of the street, and I got off at my stop, and then walked back home.