View Full Version : Report: MELBOURNE & KINGS NEWTON MILITARY RAILWAY Derbyshire - PART 1 Report 28/10/11

30-10-2011, 11:23 PM
Like most things it started with an old map, and a chance to find out what remains of a once busy wartime railway complex in the middle of the Derbyshire countryside. During 1939 - 1945.

The railway was a former Midland Railway branch line between junctions near Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire and Chellaston and Swarkestone in Derbyshire. Its principal station was Melbourne.

The Melbourne Military Railway was used by the British Army and Allied engineers during the Second World War from 1939 until late 1944 to prepare them for the invasion of mainland Europe. Engineers practised the demolition and rebuilding of railways and the running and maintenance of a railway line and its rolling stock. There was also a bridge building school at Kings Newton.
The line was named the Melbourne Military Railway after its principal station. Immediately south of Chellaston East Junction the railway established its headquarters, consisting of workshops, offices, and engine sheds for eight locomotives. After the war this area became a wagon repair depot. At Kings Newton miles of sidings were built.

Initially the railway was to be used for individual training but later it was used for training complete railway operating companies who would work the line for a week at a time. Two such companies were Canadian. From July 1941 the Melbourne training regime was linked with that at Longmoor. Basic training took place in Hampshire before transfer to Melbourne where railway engineers undertook eight weeks training and construction engineers undertook 16 weeks training, which included eight weeks at the Kings Newton bridge building school. By the end of 1944 the additional facilities were no longer needed and the line was ready to hand back to the LMS.

The railway track was handed back to the LMS on 1 January 1945 who then submitted a bill of 25,265 to the War Department to restore the line. In 1958 steam power was replaced by diesel on many local lines and large numbers of redundant steam locomotives were stored at Chellaston quarry. In March 1966 British Railways closed Chellaston Quarry Signal Box and the sidings were lifted in 1967 when the line was returned to single track running. BR finally closed the line on 21 May 1980.
In 1988 the track was lifted and the section between Chellaston East Junction and Worthington was converted into part of National Cycle Route 6.

There are numerous remains still laying in the undergrowth if you care to take the time and look, especially at Chellaston East Junction.:thumb

On with some pics:

http://inlinethumb48.webshots.com/48495/2211900240033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2211900240033241453hvdNWP)

A map showing the extensive sidings of the railway training school.

We start the tour at Melbourne station with some "Then and Now" photos.

http://inlinethumb14.webshots.com/47053/2679237640033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2679237640033241453vCKqVB)

Melbourne station was a quiet backwater branch line until WW.II that is! Then things changed.

http://inlinethumb41.webshots.com/49960/2324160470033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2324160470033241453cADJZc)

The same location today. Just beyond the bridges the entrance into the sidings began.

http://inlinethumb47.webshots.com/19950/2784794290033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2784794290033241453ZBYiZY)

A view of the entry line into Kings Newton Depot, April 1954. (Looking back towards Melbourne station).

http://inlinethumb40.webshots.com/48807/2995843450033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2995843450033241453FKbDrt)

The same location today! Nature has obliterated any point of reference other than the bridge that still exisits where both photos were taken from!

http://inlinethumb22.webshots.com/47573/2313066800033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2313066800033241453hgSdoa)

Remains of a wartime building and concrete buffer stops (below) are the only reminders visible to day of the once sprawling sidings that existed here.

http://inlinethumb48.webshots.com/23855/2422753020033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2422753020033241453UrZlxa)

http://inlinethumb40.webshots.com/50087/2701286020033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2701286020033241453Nbtujr)

Now an empty field! But once a marshalling yard the remains of three bases are all that is left.

http://inlinethumb57.webshots.com/49592/2604518470033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2604518470033241453YVuCMw)

Beyond the depot the line crossed the River Trent on an impressive bridge note the anti tank traps located between the sleepers. Photo Circa 1989. These are still evident today, even though the track has been lifted. Shortly after another bridge crosses the:-

http://inlinethumb23.webshots.com/49622/2143139080033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2143139080033241453eVipto)

Trent & Mersey Canal before it continues up towards Chelleston East Junction remains of the track work now come into view

http://inlinethumb30.webshots.com/9501/2851288530033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2851288530033241453YdYAJm)

Old point work, signal brackets and railway sleepers litter the surrounding area.

http://inlinethumb59.webshots.com/49978/2698336870033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2698336870033241453ujwNML)

Now we leave the defined trail and venture off into a 'now' heavily wooded area! This dense wood however hides a secret?:thumb

To be continued in Part 2.

01-11-2011, 07:09 AM
Part 2

Hidden deep in the now wooded area that use to be covered with sidings and buildings lurks the remains of a building from the bygone days of steam and the line it served:thumb

http://inlinethumb01.webshots.com/46528/2503818470033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2503818470033241453QoXmkW)

The first signs are these trenches? Which on further inspection are old locomotive inspection pits! Just follow the pit and soon the remains of a Steam engine shed come into view.

http://inlinethumb35.webshots.com/48162/2366700130033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2366700130033241453OkmaDj)

Nature has surely claimed this back. Hidden from view for a long time and forgotten, vines and trees now grow where trains rested:smile

http://inlinethumb57.webshots.com/47992/2305251010033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2305251010033241453BQNkXr)

The roof and walls have partially gone in places and the elements of decay are all around.

http://inlinethumb55.webshots.com/47542/2704052470033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2704052470033241453XQcwCo)

http://inlinethumb49.webshots.com/47152/2630086090033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2630086090033241453HNJaBy)

The shed has two inspection pits that run the full length, to the rear are the remains of a small Black smiths and ancillary buildings. Note the smoke deflectors over the pit roads.

http://inlinethumb59.webshots.com/49018/2693321340033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2693321340033241453yydQsL)

Small Black smiths remains

http://inlinethumb49.webshots.com/48112/2309104060033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2309104060033241453lRecva)

The shed just a few years after closure. before nature came through the doors and roof!

http://inlinethumb07.webshots.com/27718/2150273990033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2150273990033241453lMfwuC)

End of the line.

http://inlinethumb37.webshots.com/24292/2079448660033241453S600x600Q85.jpg (http://news.webshots.com/photo/2079448660033241453gkiBWE)

There are further building remains and railway sleepers etc. scattered around the wood but if you go keep an eye on the ground in front of you because there are big holes and trenches, covered over with undergrowth:thumb

Thanks for looking.

01-11-2011, 12:14 PM
Love this stuff. :thumb

12-11-2011, 10:39 PM
Good stuff, always like this sort of thing!

13-11-2011, 11:24 AM
An excellany report and history mate top stuff

13-11-2011, 02:53 PM
Excellent stuff, I had no idea this lot used to exist! Great report

27-12-2011, 09:31 PM
Fantastic, I have many disused railway lines in my area that I love to trek around, there are a few on my Flickr account, buildings and bridges remaining?