Where's the stations?
The name; because one afternoon
Of heat the diesel-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.
The brakes hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Sinfin North – only the name**
It is not a futuristic vision of Britain's rail service, but the story of the taxi ride that masquerades as the 6:48 morning train from Derby to Sinfin, an industrial suburb of the city. And, if the fat controllers of the private rail network get their way, its journey could be over for good.
Today, public hearings start to close the branch line to the two stations in Sinfin, a three- minute, two-mile journey from the centre of Derby, which costs £1.20 and for more than four years has been served only by a taxi replacing the scheduled service.
Although the taxi takes longer, the chief benefit for the three regular users is that they do not have to walk from the station - the taxi takes them all the way to their workplaces. One is dropped at his factory at Peartree, a stop half way down the line and the two remaining regulars are driven right to the door of the Rolls-Royce plant.
The downside is that the service is only one way. Returning in the evening they have to walk and take the bus - or a normal taxi at £3.20.
... the line was formally closed on 21st May 1998.
fbb wonders whether the project was a decade or so ahead of its time. Derby "suburbs" Shelton Lock and Chellaston have expanded significantly and trains could have been extended to Castle Donington and East Midlands Airport along existing tracks. But sadly, it was not to be.
Next blog : due Saturday November 5th