On a roll to Royce’s

Tim Helme recounts some of the stress, strife and shenanigans on the diminutive Derby branch line to Sinfin from 1990 to date.

THE Sinfin branch, which is accessed at Melbourne Junction about one-and-a-quarter miles south-west of Derby, was originally laid in 1868.

From Melbourne Junction it ran to the Stenson Branch at Chellaston West Junction before diverging at Chellaston East Junction and continuing on via Melbourne to Ashby-de-la-Zouch on the Leicester to Burton-upon-Trent line.

The line was never much of a success, however, and lost its passenger service in 1930 – although the section south of Chellaston became the Melbourne Military Railway during the Second World War.

This line survived under British Rail until 1980 then was lifted in 1988, and today much of it is National Cycling Route 6 ‘The Cloud Trail’.  

The Rolls-Royce Siding on February 21, 2019 with DB Cargo’s No. 66199 waiting at the security gate before collecting the empties. The branch towards Derby – now technically a siding – is to the left. Tim Helme

The northern section between Melbourne Junction and Chellaston West Junction was severed in 1973, but just over a mile of track was kept from Melbourne Junction to slightly beyond the Rolls-Royce Siding.

Somewhat against the grain, two new stations were built at Sinfin North and Sinfin Central and this remaining stretch of track reopened to passenger services in 1976.  

Read more and view more images in the August issue of RE – on sale now!

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