Thursday, July 24, 2008

The train now standing........

Our nearest station is about 20 minutes walk away. The trains that run along this line travel every hour between Derby and Crewe. When we first moved here about 12 years ago it was a different story.

Back then the line ran between Skegness on the East Coast and Crewe. It would pass through Boston, Sleaford and the village of Heckington where you can see the eight sailed windmill from the train and the pea room craft centre and tea room was in the station yard. I don't know if that is still there but certainly the windmill is still quite a tourist attraction. The train then ran its course to Nottingham, Beeston, Attenborough through to Derby, Tutbury, Blythe Bridge and thence to Stoke-on-Trent, our little station being the first it called at on its way through the city towards Kidsgrove and Crewe. A few years later the train stopped running between Cheshire and Lincolnshire and would terminate at Nottingham. Now in the last year or so it only goes as far as Derby. I wonder how much longer it will last?

It does seem to be quite well used and I've travelled to both Derby and Crewe a few times in recent years to get to other places like Nottingham, Chesterfield and quite strangely Shrewsbury. I always think it is odd to go north to Crewe to then travel south again to Shrewsbury, but so be it. The train company that runs trains on this line is Central trains but the train which came into the station was from south-west trains.

In the photo above you can see evidence of industry past in the tops of the old bottle ovens or pot banks; all that remains of one of the pottery factories which proliferated across the city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. On the other side of the station is evidence of the 'new' industry of today - otherwise known as Tesco.

Again, when we first came here the land now occupied by Tesco was where a swimming pool and council refuse site used to stand. Presumably when the Council sold the land to Tesco they negotiated a deal and Tesco provided a new bus station - which was needed because the old one was horrible. This is situated just opposite the station and the two together are known as the Longton Interchange.

Below is Longton Town Hall another relic of the 'glory days' of the potteries and a fine one too. A number of years ago now various townspeople and traders formed a group to save the town hall and succeeded; its future is always in the balance but for now it seems to be safe.

The town hall was one of the first buildings I could see from the train when I travelled through from Boston one cold Friday evening not far from Christmas on my way to spend the weekend in Stoke. Paul was working over here then but we hadn't sold our house in Spalding and I was still working there. I just remember seeing it all lit up with Christmas lights as we passed by - it was such a cheerful site after a long, tiring journey.


  1. Do you know, I love trains!It must be in my blood.. my grandad was a engine driver for GWR.
    I thought I recognised the South West train! I often catch one of those to and from Exeter.
    I enjoyed reading your little bit of local history. ;-)

  2. I don't often travel by train so it's always a novelty for me, I love watching the world whiz by.
    I liked the photos of the old bottle ovens and Longton's very impressive Town Hall somehow the Tesco building doesn't quite compare!

  3. I travel by train very often.I hope to make a trip with the Orient express one day....In holland traveling by train can be very irritating,trains do not run on time..always some kind off problem! We made a trip wich normaly takes about two ours,but for some dark reason took SIX.We came home at 3,30 in de middle of the night..

  4. We have a little station in our town, the trains don't get used as much as they could be because they are so unreliable, also there is no way of knowing if the train is late or cancelled so they are useless for important journeys. A great pity because people should be encouraged to avoid car journeys. Next time you journey to Crewe give me a wave.

  5. Sal - perhaps you've travelled to Exeter on that train! I guess it must have been on loan.

    fern - the Tesco building isn't very impressive but it has certainly brought shoppers into the town and they do use the others shops there as well.

    dutchess - Oh, the Orient Express - I would love, one day, to travel to Venice on it.

    acornmoon, I don't travel on it so much now but will certainly give you a wave if I do:) I know what you mean about reliability - I was once left standing for ages at the station whilst waiting to get to Nottingham to meet a friend coming up from Peterborough - luckily we could text each other about delays:)