SHERWOOD RECOLLECTIONS
Ard Dunby

Sherwood Station and the allotments at Sherwood Vale were my playgrounds in the late 1940's and 1950's. I derived great pleasure watching a twice weekly goods train (Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings) shunting trucks of bricks and coal at Sherwood Station. 

The railway, which ran up to Mapperley Brickyard from a junction on the southeast side of Ashwell's Tunnel, was standard gauge. (There was also a 15" or 18" gauge line running throughout the clay quarry system from Sherwood Vale to Breck Hill, Mapperley.) I well recall the 'brickyard man' sitting astride a buffer as he rode with his charge of trucks down the incline! (No health and safety fears then!). Just to the right of the Brickyard Incline bridge on Sherwood Vale, once stood a brick built hut with a slated roof. Inside this was a full width wooden bench, and a stool. On the wall was an electric bell and a telephone wired through a system of telegraph poles to the cable winding room at Mapperley Brickyard. 

Twice a week the brickyard man would ride down with his wagons full of bricks and meet up, near the hut, with the LNER guard from the pick-up goods. Both men would have shunting poles and would discuss instructions for the transfer of the bricks in exchange for wagons of coal and empties. The visiting goods engine would push a mixture of full and empty trucks over the points at Ashwell's Tunnel and round the steep curve to the hut. It was here that LNER territory met up with Nottingham Patent Brick Company railway. Here, the NPBC man would secure the steel rope to a chain and shackle, then hook it on to a rake of 5 or 6 trucks. Through means of a bell-code he would signal the winding room 'up top' and away the convoy would go. I used to watch this procedure countless times during my school holidays and Saturday mornings. 

Meanwhile the LNER guard would walk along the line of remaining trucks pinning down their brakes so that the engine could safely uncouple to continue with work at St Ann's Well and Thorneywood stations. As my father had an allotment on the railway land, to the left of the Sherwood Tunnel portal (1442 yards), I used to climb down the embankment and stand on the platform, waving to the crew, as the train trundled into the tunnel.

On Sunday 9th February 1930 the line was singled, signalling removed - and later the main station buildings at Sherwood were demolished. Local folk scavenged the timber to build sheds and greenhouses. 

In my youth I remember seeing only three passenger trains on the line. Two during the summer of 1949 originating at Basford and running through to Thorneywood and return. The third and final being already referred to as the RCTS special excursion just before the line finally closed - and which I watched pass Sherwood station in both directions.

Until closure there remained the signal box, weighbridge, lamp room, nameboards for both tunnels, two ground frames (one at Ashwell's Tunnel and one at the northeast end of the station platform) and a very well maintained permanent way. 



Last updated: Friday, 26-May-2017 09:56:25 BST
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