The Anonymous Widower

Beeching Reversal – Reconnecting Ashfield Communities Through The Maid Marian Line

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

Around the turn of the Century, I started to use the Robin Hood Line fairly regularly, as I had clients in both Nottingham and Mansfield and found it easier to drive up from Suffolk and park in Nottingham and get the train to Mansfield. When the Nottingham Express Transit opened in 2004 to Hucknall station, I would change there for Mansfield.

I can remember thinking at the time and discussing it with my client, that British Rail had certainly been mistaken to close the rail line between Hucknall and Worksop via Mansfield.

I first talked about the Maid Marian Line in Expanding The Robin Hood Line, which I wrote in 2015, although, it hadn’t been named at the time.

In 2015, there was talk of two extensions.

A Proposed Branch To Ollerton

In my investigations into Ilkeston station, the Robin Hood Line kept cropping up and especially talk of a branch from the line to Ollerton.

Search Google News for Robin Hood Line and articles with titles like Chancellor backs Robin Hood line passenger plans are found in the Mansfield and Ashfield Chad. This is the start to the article.

The Chancellor George Osborne, has confirmed his backing for plans to open a passenger service on the Robin Hood line, from Shirebrook to Ollerton, including passenger stations at Ollerton and Edwinstowe.

Other Government figures like David Cameron and Patrick McLoughlin and important local councillors are also quoted saying similar things.

What is not said is that the line will serve the CentreParcs Sherwood Forest and that the rail line needed is currently fully maintained for driver training.

This Google Map shows the area.

The Ollerton branch turns off from the Robin Hood Line just North of Shirebrook station in the top left hand corner of the map and then makes it way to Ollerton by way of the South of Warsop and Edwinstowe and North of the CentreParcs Sherwood Forest.

The line probably illustrates the only environmentally-friendly use for coal, which is to keep rail lines open and in good condition, until we can find a better use for them.

There is an interesting section called Branch Lines in the Wikipedia entry for Shirebrook station. This is said.

Two branch lines are plainly visible veering off north of the bridge at the north end of Shirebrook station.

The double tracks branching off eastwards (i.e. to the right as viewed from the station) to the side of the signalbox joined the LD&ECR’s one-time main line to Lincoln, next stop Warsop. The branch only ever carried a regular passenger service for a few years in Edwardian times. It did, however, carry Summer holiday trains such as the Summer Saturdays Radford to Skegness in at least 1963. The branch’s main purpose was always freight traffic, with coal being overwhelmingly dominant.

In 2013 the line gives access to Thoresby Colliery and to the High Marnham Test Track.

There is some hope of reopening the line as a branch off the Robin Hood Line and reopening Warsop, Edwinstowe and Ollerton stations, providing an hourly service to Mansfield and Nottingham.

This Google Map shows Shirebrook station and the railway lines around it.

The junction of the Ollerton branch would appear to allow access to trains from or to either Nottingham and Mansfield in the South and Worksop in the North

It appears that there could be three stations; Warsop, Edwinstowe and Ollerton on a double-track branch.

Services To Derby

The area between Chesterfield, Mansfield and Nottingham is not very well connected to Derby.

If you want to go from Mansfield or Kirkby-in-Ashfield on the Robin Hood Line to Derby, you always have to change at Nottingham, with sometimes an extra change at East Midlands Parkway.

The Erewash Valley Line runs North-South a few miles to the West of the Robin Hood Line.

Despite being partially in Derbyshire, getting from stations like AlfretonLangley Mill and the soon-to-be-opened Ilkeston stations to Derby, you have to change at either Nottingham or Chesterfield.

Look at this Google Map of the area

There must be a better way of getting to Derby, than by changing trains in Nottingham or Chesterfield.

But what?

There are four main North-South routes in the area.

What seems to be missing is high-capacity East-West routes for both rail and road.

The Erewash Valley Line goes South to Long Eaton, which has several trains per hour direct to Derby, so this could be the key to getting to Derby.

In a Notes on Current Station section on the Wikipedia entry for Long Eaton station, this is said.

It is planned that both platforms will be extended by up to 10 metres by no later than 2012.

It is anticipated that developments along the Erewash line will result in changes for Long Eaton station. A plan drawn up in 2011 recommended a new Derby to Mansfield service via new stations at Breaston & Draycott, Long Eaton West (renamed from Long Eaton), Long Eaton Central, Stapleford & Sandiacre, Ilkeston, Eastwood & Langley Mill (renamed from Langley Mill), Selston & Somercotes and then to Pinxton via new trackbed connecting with the Mansfield line from Nottingham at Kirkby in Ashfield.

It strikes me that work at Long Eaton, the several new stations and improvements North of Langley Mill would enable direct services from Alfreton, Ilkeston and Langley Mill to both Derby and Mansfield. This service would also improve services from stations stations North of Mansfield to Derby.

A trackbed from Langley Mill to Kirkby in Ashfield is shown on Google Maps.

Langley Mill to Kirkby-in-Ashfield

Alfreton is the station at the top left and Kirkby-in-Ashfield is at the top right. The Erewash Valley Line from Langley Mill, enters at the bottom and splits with one branch going to Alfreton and the other going East to cross the M1 and join the Robin Hood Line south of Kirkby-in-Ashfield.

On an Ordnance Survey map, dated 2009, the railway is shown as a multiple track line, probably serving collieries and open cast coalfields.

It all sounds very feasible too! Especially, as the Erewash Valley is an area of high unemployment, low car ownership and a dependence on public transport.

Would Both Branches Of the Robin Hood Line Form The Maid Marian Line?


  • The Ollerton Branch joins the Robin Hood Line to the North of Shirebrook station.
  • The Pye Bridge Branch joins the Robin Hood Line to the South of Kirkby-in-Ashfield station.
  • There are three statations between Shirebrook and Kirkby-in-Ashfield stations; Mansfield Woodhouse, Mansfield and Sutton Parkway.
  • The Pye Bridge Branch joins the Erewash Valley Line to the North of Langley Mill station.
  • From Langley Mill station, there are direct services to Nottingham station.
  • I am also fairly certain that a passenger train can travel between Langley Mill and Derby via Ilkeston and Long Eaton.

It would certainly be possible for a passenger service to run between Ollerton and Ilkeston.

  • It could terminate at either Derby or Nottingham.
  • When High Speed Two is built, it could call at East Midlands Hub station.

As Shirebrook, Mansfield Woodhouse, Mansfield, Sutton Parkway, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Langley Mill, Ilkeston and Long Eaton, all have connections to Nottingham, I suspect the core service would terminate at Derby.

One MP Is Not Happy

This article on NottinghamshireLive is entitled Leaders In Row Over Plans To Reopen Maid Marian Line.

This is said.

A row has erupted over proposals to reopen the disused Maid Marian Line in Nottinghamshire.

Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield, has hit out at Ashfield District Council saying residents in areas like Selston will be “left behind” under plans to reopen the line.

From reading the article, it looks like an extra station at Selston might defuse the row.



  • This is a sound plan, that has been talked about for some years.
  • Except for three or four stations, there is little serious construction needed.
  • The line connects a large area to High Speed Two.

I feel that this could be one of the first schemes to be given the go-ahead to be built.


August 22, 2020 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , ,


  1. […] Reopening Stratford-upon-Avon to Honeybourne-Worcester/Oxford (SWO) Railway Line More stopping services at Radcliffe-on-Trent and Bottesford stations on the Poacher line between Grantham and Nottingham Increased services to Nottingham and Leicester, via Syston and Loughborough from Melton Mowbray Reconnecting Ashfield Communities through the Maid Marian Line […]

    Pingback by Beeching Reversal: Fifty Disused Rail Lines On Track To Reopen « The Anonymous Widower | August 22, 2020 | Reply

  2. […] See Beeching Reversal – Reconnecting Ashfield Communities Through The Maid Marian Line […]

    Pingback by Restoring Your Railway: Successful Bids « The Anonymous Widower | December 10, 2020 | Reply

  3. […] Maid Marian Line […]

    Pingback by Ashington Targets 2023 Opening « The Anonymous Widower | April 9, 2021 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: