Take a train trip along the line

Start at Butterley Station

Most trains depart from Butterley Station heading under the road bridge and past the former goods yard to your right and, to your left, the signal box, rescued from Ais Gill on the famous Settle and Carlisle line. You then pass through a long cutting, which eventually opens out into the museum complex. On the right you will see the workshop for the Historic Carriage and Wagon team, where many of the old wooden bodied vehicles are restored. Outside there are a large number of vehicles waiting for their turn in the restoration queue.

The train then passes under the large signal gantry and you will see more tracks and a view across the museum complex. The very large Swanwick Junction signal box is on your right. This was rescued from Kettering and controls train movements around the station.

Next you arrive at Swanwick Junction Station, with its impressive buildings and footbridge. We recommend that you stay on the train and alight on your return. The former Swanwick Colliery branchline can be seen on the left; approximately 400 yards of track is still in place and is occasionally used by trains. After this, on your right is the railway’s country park. This is an area of about 40 acres through which you can walk and explore. At the end of the park is the Golden Valley Burial Ground, offering woodland burials, and a footbridge which connects to the section of the country park to the north of the line.

Beyond the Golden Valley bridge you can see the canal side cottages through the trees to your right. Beyond these, on the top of the hill, is the Jessop Monument, built to commemorate William Jessop one of the managers of Butterley Ironworks.

Return to Butterley Station

You then pass the signal box, rescued from Kilby Bridge near Leicester, and enter the western terminus of Hammersmith, named after a local community of houses built for workers in the nearby ironworks. Here the engine will again run around its train to take you back to Butterley.

Leaving Swanwick Junction the train returns to Butterley, but normally passes through the station non-stop and under the footbridge to cross over Butterley Reservoir on an impressive causeway.  The reservoir was originally built to feed water into the Cromford and Nottingham canals, but now is now the haunt of wildfowl and is well used by fishermen and walkers.

The train will then return to Swanwick Junction and here we strongly recommend alighting to explore the museum complex.  You can then catch a later train to return to Butterley.

The train then enters the terminus loop at Riddings Junction set high above the River Erewash and a number of old terraced cottages. Here the engine will uncouple and run round to the other end of the train for your return journey, or if a diesel multiple unit is in operation the driver will walk to the other end of the train. Whilst you are waiting you may see a train on the nearby main line.

The next bridge over the line is a farmer’s access bridge, which still retains its original Midland Railway stone arch. A little further on you then pass under another  bridge as you travel through Ironville and pass our connection with the main line railway network. This curves away to the right of the train.

Alighting at Swanwick Junction Station

We strongly recommend that you alight at Swanwick Junction Station and explore the museum complex. There are many things to explore, including those listed below (click each one to view more information).