Some Early Lines
The Erewash Valley Line
To be geographically accurate, the designation ‘Erewash Valley’ can only be held to apply to the stretch between Trent and Pye Bridge, at which point the river Erewash parts company with the railway to the north. From a railway aspect, however, the term Erewash Valley Line is more generally understood to refer loosely to the whole of the Midland main line between Trent or Nottingham, at least as far north as Chesterfield. The section from Long Eaton to Pye Bridge (originally a branch terminating at Pinxton) was opened as far as Codnor Park in 1847, extended to Pye Bridge in 1849, and to Clay Cross in 1862 where it joined the original North Midland main line from Derby to Masboro’.
This area contains one of the richest coal deposits in the country, and is strewn with innumerable collieries. The Midland had a monopoly of this business until 1875 when it was challenged by the Great Northern who pushed westwards from Nottingham to tap some of the lucrative traffic, and later still, to a limited extent, by the Great Central. In the Leen Valley, a little to the east, all three railways, the MR, GNR and GCR, had lines running almost parallel and crossing one another in several places.
The GNR route, which had been opened in 1881, was officially known as the Leen Valley Line although the MR had always been the predominant railway in the area. The Erewash Valley line in particular is a very busy one as not only does it carry an enormous , although nowadays (c1969) diminishing, amount of coal traffic, but it is also part of the main line from London to Leeds and Carlisle; its for tracks carry a constant stream of trains of all sorts. From a speed point of view it has always been much bedevilled by permanent way restrictions made necessary by the danger of subsidence due to the numerous colliery workings in the area.