One line in Jonathan Calder’s blog post about Frog Island jumped out at me. “Nottingham Arkwright Station”
Where was that? I don’t think I’d heard of it before. In these information days, I can find out all about it from all over the internet.
It was a station on a railway line that was removed in the late 1960s, entering the city of Nottingham over the Trent, crossing the Old Meadows on viaducts, crossing the Midland station at a higher level than the remaining tracks, onto a viaduct over Canal Street. After that, I think it went into the tunnel under the Lace Market to go to Nottingham Victoria Station – that too was demolished in the 70s and replaced with the Victoria Centre.
The Canal Street viaduct is now in use for the NET tram, which currently terminates abruptly before the station, but which should continue at a high level over the railway station when Phase II gets going. The tram doesn’t use the tunnel, but runs at street level left through the city streets.
The tunnel is essentially unused now. When they were talking about “bridge strengthening works” in Parliament Street, it wasn’t the pedestrian link to the Victoria centre they meant, but the tunnel beneath the street. You could briefly see corrugated metal under the road as they took up the tarmac for the works.
One use the tunnel does have is to carry the steam main that feeds the district heating system. It heats the entire Victoria Centre – the shopping centre and all of the flats – before heading north to St Anns.
The south end of the tunnel has recently been blocked by the new Nottingham Contemporary art gallery.
When the Nottingham Arkwright station closed it was demolished, much of the Old Meadows with it, and replaced with “Radburn” style development. This happened about ten years before I was born and twenty before I came to Nottingham. And now thirty years later the area has attracted £199,000,000 in investment to renovate those houses, and undo some of the unforeseen problems the non-standard layout caused.
Loads more information about the line, and the station on these blogs, including masses of interesting photos. It’s raw and real – the stations look neglected; tracks give out suddenly. Viaducts are brutal and imposing and dominate the landscape.