Programme notes for recent Days of Heritage held around the region
EMIAC 83: Trent 150 - Trent Station 1862-1968
Organised by the East Midlands Branch of the Railway & Canal Historical Society, and was held on Saturday 19th May 2012 in Long Eaton.
The conference programme:
09:30 Registration with tea/coffee
10:00 Welcome and Introduction
10:10 Corridors for Transport - Trent, Erewash, Derwent and Soar valleys
11:00 Trent Station 1862-1968
11:40 Midland Railway Sheet Stores
12:30 EMIAC Business Meeting
13:00 Buffet lunch
14:00 Site visits: areas of waterway and railway interest around Trent Lock and Trent Junction.
View of the Sheet Stores Basin. The building to the right of the boats was the Coke Store built in 1840.
The sheet dressing shop built in 1899.
The mess room built in 1865.
Two boats leaving the lock into the Erewash Canal at Trent Lock.
Images courtesy of Terry Waterfield taken during the visit.
The valleys of the rivers Trent, Derwent, Soar and Erewash have provided corridors for transport of many forms.
The railway came to the area in 1839 with the opening of the Midlands Counties railway between Nottingham and Derby. The rail network quickly expanded in 1840 with the opening of the line to Leicester and Rugby, and again in 1847 with the opening of the Erewash Valley Line.
In 1862 the Midland Railway opened a further complex of lines in the area and an interchange station known simply as Trent.
The rail network continued to expand with the opening of a line to Stenson Junction in 1869 and of the High Level lines through to Toton in 1900.
The railway network has seen many changes over the years. Trent Station itself closed in 1968, but most of the railways in the area remain in use.
Located in the West Park Leisure Centre, Long Eaton, the conference examined the rise and fall of Trent Station and its associated lines. In the afternoon delegates visited the Sheet Stores Basin where once the Midland Railway transferred goods - mainly coal - from the Erewash Canal to their railway wagons. Adjacent to the basin are the buildings dating from the mid-nineteenth century that once housed the workshops for the manufacture and repair of tarpaulin sheets and storing them. Then, of course, goods were carried in open-topped wagons on the railways and the tarpaulins were used to keep them dry.
The walk continued to Trent Junction and then on to Cranfleet Cut to view the site of the Trent Station, railway bridges and the flood lock for the Cut.
Postscript to the conference
The Trent valley between Long Eaton and Shardlow has long been, and still is, a source of gravel. With the aid of a geological map of the area as a background, Keith described the development of the transport links in the area; each phase being shown in a different colour. Recent excavations have revealed remains indicating the Trent was as an ancient trade route. The early turnpike roads that have morphed into the modern road network. Then came the canals: the Trent-Mersey, Erewash and Derby. And finally the railways: the Midland Counties Railway opened the Derby-London line via Leicester and Northampton, followed by the Derby-Nottingham line. Coal from the Erewash Valley coalfield was transferred from canal to railway at what was to become the Sheet Stores site. To accommodate increasing rail traffic a complex of new lines was opened with an interchange station known simply as Trent. New stations were built and others closed.
Trent, the station to Nowhere, opened in 1862 and closed in 1968, changing little during its lifetime. Surrounded by a complex track layout, it was built solely to provide interchange facilities between the Derby-Nottingham, Derby-London and Nottingham-London lines. It was not designed to serve any local community - hence being named after a river. Even before the station was built, trains would be split and combined at this junction to everywhere. In 1961 up to 100 passenger trains a day would use the station - but only to allow passengers to change trains.
The Midland Counties Railway bought coke to fuel its locomotives from the Erewash Valley coalfield. The canal basin was built to enable the coke to be transferred from boats to railway wagons. As the rail network extended into the coalfield the coke store was no longer needed. In 1854 the site became home to the Midland Counties Railway Sheet Stores. Then, as until well into the 20th century, freight was carried in open wagons and sheets, or tarpaulins, were required to protect the freight from the elements. The standard wagon sheet was 21 feet long by 14 feet 4 inches wide, made by sewing together five breadths of canvas. Boiled linseed oil mixed with red, green or black colouring was used to waterproof the sheets; the mixture being applied in the dressing shop, which could accommodate up to 2,500 sheets at a time. Each sheet was identified by a unique number and the month and year of manufacture. The site is now a small industrial estate.
The following websites provide additional background to the papers presented:
- Sheet Stores - www.long-eaton.com/
- Trent Station - www.trentstation.co.uk,
- - www.geoffreykingscott.co.uk/
- Long Eaton archives - www.long-eaton.com
Please note: Although checked at the time of writing, NIAG cannot be held responsible for the validity of these links or the integrity of these sites.