On a rather wet and miserable June morning, I ticked off my 50th of 76 stations to visit in the East Midlands Ranger Area, which means I’m now around 2/3 of the way through.
I boarded the train bound for Nottingham at Burton on Trent station, and it arrived there in the pouring rain. I changed trains there for the express service to Alfreton, which didn’t call at the two intermediate stations (Ilkeston and Langley Mill). It was bound for Liverpool Lime Street, and the service doubled in size at Nottingham when two extra coaches were coupled up to the train before it departed.
Alfreton railway station was opened by the Midland Railway on the Erewash Valley Line. It was closed in 1967 as part of the Beeching Cuts, and the original station buildings were demolished, though the line remained. Just six years later, in 1973, the station was rebuilt and re-opened as Alfreton & Mansfield Parkway, Mansfield having lost its station in the Beeching Cuts, which made it one of the largest towns in the UK not to have its own railway station. In 1995, Mansfield station was re-opened, and Alfreton reverted to its original name.
Alfreton’s station buildings and footbridge are very much of their time, similar in style to Burton on Trent after that station was rebuilt in 1970.
The station is staffed during the day, with a ticket office, toilets and a waiting room on Platform 1. There is no step-free access to Platform 2, only a footbridge. Platform 2 has a waiting shelter and a dot matrix display. There is an automated tannoy system which doesn’t know how to pronounce “Ilkeston”, so it just calls it “Ilk”.
After leaving the station, I headed to the town centre. Alfreton is a former coal mining town, also known for its iron and rope production. These industries mostly ceased in the 1960s, and the coal mines have been replaced with industrial estates, taking advantage of its close proximity to the M1 motorway.
Near to the town centre is the church of St Martin, which stands close to Alfreton Hall, a former manor house which is now a hotel and conference centre. Parts of St Martin’s church date back to the 13th century, and one of the congregation was one Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as the Alice In Wonderland author Lewis Carroll.
Near the church is a pathway which leads to Alfreton Park, a part-wooded, part-open area to the west of the town. I’m sure that on sunny, hot days it’s filled with people having picnics, walking their dogs and enjoying the sunshine. Today, I was the only person there.
The weather was getting me down, and there wasn’t a lot of time for me to have a proper look around Alfreton, so I made my way back to the railway station, via the town centre. There are plenty of shops in Alfreton, and a small shopping centre. Also in the town centre is a war memorial, and a curious milepost sign which states that there are 0 miles to Alfreton. It was due to a legal requirement by turnpike (toll road) companies to provide a milepost, and is a rare example of a “0 miles” milepost.
In spite of the weather, I found Alfreton to be quite a nice place. Thanks very much for reading, hopefully I will be back again soon for more travel adventures. In the meantime, you can follow the blog on social media by clicking this link here.