Railway Photography by Paul Robertson
The Toton area recent history and layout
The yards at Toton were always a fascinating place when I was a young spotter, I remember making trips
In 1993, I moved to within 2 miles of Toton (& now live less than 1/2 a mile..), and by then having had a few years experience of railway photography, I set about recording the local scene in detail. I didn't drive at that time so I went everywhere by pushbike, often on a sunny morning making my way to the footbridge at the South end of Toton to record the first Doncaster-Mountsorrel passing through, and the early departures ex the yard such as 6T89 to Chaddesden and 8F10 to Mountsorrel which were regularly worked by 37's. Afterwards cycling North along the Erewash canal towpath to Stanton Gate for the next Doncaster-Mountsorrel coming South at mid morning, and the 1st train returning back Northwards after loading..
In January 2013, it was announced that the proposed High Speed 2 route would run straight through the middle of Toton with a high speed & domestic station being built on the site. Big changes to come !
To try and give a brief overview of the yard setup at Toton, refer to the pictures which are taken from the A52 overbridge at the North end of the complex looking southwards and from the footbridge at the South end of the yards.
Picture 1, the Yard to the far left is New bank, comprising 10 through roads which
were mostly used for coal traffic and stabling of engineers trains but has
been out of normal use for some time now and weeds, bushes and even trees are
growing through the tracks. The yard in the middle of tho photo between New Bank and the through lines is Old Bank, comprising 6 through and 5 dead end sidings, mostly utilised for engineers traffic and wagon storage. The through lines are (L to R): Up/down high level goods, up and down main, and down no.2 goods. 60070 is arriving on an MGR which it will back into a siding on New Bank.
Picture 2, The line on which the train is approaching is down goods no.2, with the closest line branching off to the right being the depot arrival road /
the connection to Stapleford and Sandiacre ballast sidings. The line which branches off behind this is the depot departure line. In the distance can be seen Toton North Yard
which comprises 3 through reception sidings and a substantial number of dead end roads. 37899/37719 have just departed
the North Yard with a Bardon Hill-Doncaster Decoy train of boulders for sea defence work at Hessle. 24/05/99.
Picture 3 shows the large diesel depot at Toton. There are 16 roads in total including 1 wheel lathe road & 5 roads in the 'Cathedral' section which houses the jacks and cranes for carrying out loco & engine lifts. The stabling point for locos 'ready to go' is seen
above the portakabin/behind the pylon with a number of class 60's present,
though some of these are probably stored locos. The fueling point is to the left of the depot. The train passing on down goods no.2 is
60019 hauling two engineering cranes, the 60 was the yard pilot at the time and
was tripping them over to the up side.
Picture 4 shows the ballast sidings known as Stapleford and Sandiacre sidings. The depot arrival line passes to the left of the sidings and the line to the right of this provides access
to the Virtual Quarry to the rear of the depot. The sidings are used for the marshalling of weekend engineering trains.
The dead end sidings to the right of the yard are now used for stabling and
servicing of the High Output trains, currently the TRS (Track Renewal System
train) is working from here.
Picture 5 is taken from the footbridge at the South end of the complex and shows the now closed wagon works. Behind the works is Toton West Yard, which is now mainly used for the stabling of stored and condemned wagons, to the right of the wagon works/West Yard is the site of East Yard which was lifted when the complex was rationalised in 1984. The area is now full of silver birch trees which thrive on the old trackbeds, a few years ago they were all cut down and removed as EWS planned to build an international railport on the land. However planning permission was never granted due to problems with road access, and the site was abandoned once again and the trees grew up once more. In late 2009 the BR Property board sold the land to an unknown company and they rapidly moved in with diggers and heavy plant and all the silver birch trees were toppled ready to be cleared. This created an almighty backlash in the local community who had adopted the area as a 'nature reserve' and the local councillors took out an injunction to stop the work and make the company replant new trees, even though this was private land! Needless to say the company have not been seen since and the tress all remain toppled and it is rather an eye sore.
There was a planning application made to convert the wagon works buildings and area into
a concrete recycling & manufacturing plant which would have provided concrete sleepers etc to Network
Rail, but this was rejected and the site remained an abandoned, fire damaged
(vandalised) mess. The building was finally torn down in 2018. 60074 & 60060 leave on a train to Oakleigh 29/07/95.
Picture 6 is a view Northwards with the North Yard visible to the top left. Behind the photographer there is an old railway bridge which used to carry a connection from
the high level goods lines to the North yard/downside hump, which allowed trains from the South or Nottingham area to cross the main lines without confliction instead of crossing 'on the flat' at Trent or
Toton centre. (Hump shunting ceased on the down side in 1978, and 1984 on the upside). This line and the headshunt for the down hump used to cross the embankment and viaduct over the river Erewash
just visible on the left. The train is 6T18 0833 Toton-Chaddesden hauled by 37520
which on this day was unusually coming along the up main line having backed out
of Stapleford & Sandiacre sidings instead of originating from the more usual
Old or New bank yard.
Picture 7 is an aerial view taken in 1998, showing the layout of the complex virtually as it is today. the up & down hump control towers are visible, but these have since been demolished. Compare this view with the 1951 view below.
Picture 8 is an aerial view taken from 1951, Compare this to the view above and see how much rationalisation affected the yards. Aerial pictures nos.7 & 8
kindly reproduced from "Toton Yards & the Erewash valley - A brief history".
As of 2359 on Sunday 26th April 2009, DBS closed both Toton Old Bank and New Bank yards due to the current financial recession and associated lack of freight traffic, it is hoped they may reopen at some stage in the future if freight ever picks up again. All traffic is now based on Toton North yard on the down side of the main line. During the Summer of 2010, Old Bank started to be used for the staging of DBS coal trains which started running once again from Daw Mill to Ratcliffe after the Jarvis Fastline Freight collapse, and some roads in New Bank were getting occasional use but bushes and silver birches had already put paid to some roads, indeed the stored class 60s have trees and vegetation growing through some of them..
During late April 2012 contractors were brought in to make New Bank fit for further use, this is for stabling of the Track Renewal System Train and HOBC train which are going to see extensive use on the MML and East Midlands area over the coming year. DBS also had to move some of the stored 60s and some were moved to St Blazey to be stored undercover in the old roundhouse.
Currently we have gone full circle again after the HOBC/TRS trains renewing
the railway in the East Midlands were pulled by Network Rail due to financial
constraints. Therefore New Bank again became a dumping ground with stored wagons
and nature taking over again.
In October 2009 the Erewash South resignalling was completed with many more signal gantries now spanning the lines in the area and control of the railway passing to the East Midlands Control Centre at Derby. These changes also saw the closure of Stapleford and Sandiacre shunt
frame signalbox which was located just below the A52 overbridge, this was
demolished at the start of 2011. Trains leaving South from Toton North Yard, and indeed the depot, can run directly South along the bi-directional line on the furthest west side of the main line, they cross back to the 'correct' line on a new crossover near the site of the old Long Eaton town
station, near the large Tesco superstore.
Photos taken around the Toton area: