The Ashover Light Railway was a two foot
gauge line of some seven miles in length, running from Clay Cross to Ashover in
Derbyshire. It was built by the Clay Cross Company in the early 1920's for the
purposes of transporting minerals (mainly limestone for ballast and
road-making) from the quarries owned by the company along its route.
Engineered by Lieutenant H.F. Stephens, the
railway was constructed entirely from secondhand materials purchased from the
War Disposals Board set up after the cessation of the 1914-1918 conflict.
Practically all the rolling stock and the initial motive power, in the form of
five Baldwin 4-6-0 locomotives, also came from that source. The only new items
purchased were four passenger carriages built by the Gloucester Wagon and
Carriage Company. The mineral carrying stock of the ALR consisted mainly of
ex-W.D. type D drop-side wagons. A few type E centre drop-side wagons were also
put into service but proved unpopular as they were more difficult to unload.
The Ashover Light Railway opened officially
on the 6th of April, 1925 and although passenger services were initially
well-used, it was eventually reduced to a summer-only timetable, finally
succumbing to the increasing competition from bus services, with regular
services ending in 1936. The mineral traffic, the principal reason for the
line, continued until 1950 when it became uneconomic due to increasing costs
and unreliability. The end came when the standing order for ballast was
cancelled by the Railway Executive of the British Transport Commission and the
reason for the railway's existence disappeared. The railway finally closed to
all traffic on 31st March 1950, two days short of its 25th anniversary, with
practically all of its locomotives rolling stock and quarry machinery either
worn out or already scrapped.
The layout represents Fallgate station and
yard on the Ashover Light Railway some time in the late 1930's with the
tarmacadam plant, completed in 1936, opposite the station and the fluorspar
washing plant towards Clay Cross, from which direction the line emerges from a
cutting, passes though the station and disappears towards Ashover.