An exhibition celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Mansfield & Pinxton Railway is on show from Saturday 2nd February to Saturday 2nd March at the Mansfield Museum, Leeming Street, Mansfield during normal opening times.
This exhibition shows 200 years of progress and evolution on what is England’s oldest continuously running commercial railway and includes a scale model of the Kings Mill Viaduct, an original rail and a specially produced 200th anniversary rail.
Just over 200 years ago discussions took place to see how Mansfield could be connected to the rapidly increasing network of canals, to boost the town’s economy. Due to the terrain, it was decided not to extend the canal but to connect the two together with a railway. Therefore, on the 13th April 1819 the 7.5-mile Mansfield & Pinxton Railway was officially opened amidst pomp and ceremony. Coal was more easily brought into the town to fire the industrial boilers and furnaces and exports of stone, malt and sand, amongst other items, rapidly increased. Mansfield had joined the transport revolution!
Have you stopped to think! This predates steam locomotion! Those first wagons were pulled along by horses. It wasn’t until 1849 that Mansfield saw its first steam locomotive. Initially only freight was transported but from 1832 passenger travel was introduced.
However, the story doesn’t stop there, because this line, although undergoing a few upgrades and adjustments, has been running continuously ever since; making it the oldest continuously running commercial railway in England! Even when passenger services ceased, in 1964, freight continued, and today, the story is almost reversed. Half of the original line has now been incorporated into the Robin Hood line, while the other half branches off toward Pinxton, still carrying a few freight trains each week.
Kirkby & District Archaeological Group invite you to come along and learn more about a piece of your local heritage, that has national significance.