On the 9th July 1966 a very strange railtour set off from Trent Station. It was organised by the Railway Enthusiasts club and instead of coaches a rake of brake vans provided the stock. The train loco was a Colwick Shed Black 5 number 44825. The loco had been “bulled up” specially for the tour and was the cleanest Colwick engine I ever saw! The tour was known as “The Collier” though no such headboard was carried. A headboard did identify the club which had organised this most unusual event. The tour’s main purpose was to visit collieries around Nottingham and also to travel over some track that would soon be closed for ever…
After leaving Trent the train avoided Nottingham by taking the Lenton curve and made its first colliery visit at Calverton. It then proceeded to Bestwood Colliery. At one of these collieries the train engine evidently ran around the train and when it first ran through Nottingham Midland it was running tender first.
The train stopped at Colwick and Netherfield station where the Black 5 detached and ran around its train. After being attached again the train then set off down the former GN line to make its first visit to Nottingham Victoria.
From here it proceeded to Basford then went on to visit Stanton Iron works where once again it ran around its train.
It then proceeded back to Nottingham Victoria where it paused a while to take on water.
It then ran down the GN line again to Colwick and Netherfield station and took the curve to pass Colwick Shed and proceed into Gedling Colliery.
After visiting Gedling it returned to Colwick but went directly to Rectory Junction, crossed the Trent Viaduct and took the “new” line to Cotgrave Colliery. This was the final point of call. From here the train returned over the Trent via Rectory Junction and steamed through Colwick and Netherfield station. The Midland line was re-joined shortly after the station and the train proceeded to Nottingham Midland station where the tour ended.
In the last photograph we can see the tour was sent around the old freight avoiding line to the station and we see why… a Met Camm DMU on a Lincoln to Nottingham service also makes the shot.
How sad to think that 50 years later so much has changed. The locomotive, brake vans and Nottingham Victoria station are long gone. Stanton Iron works and all the collieries are also just a memory now. Colwick and Netherfield station is now called simply Netherfield. I believe the signal box is gone too at Netherfield Junction and the old GN lines down to Nottingham certainly are.
The Collier Rail tour of 9 July 1966 proved to be the third last railtour to visit Nottingham Victoria station before the through route closed on 4th September 1966. There would be two more visiting tours but nothing like the amazing brake van tour was ever seen again…
Copyright@ Mike Sheridan 2016 – all text and images.