An intergenerational heritage project sponsored by the 50plus forum and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund

Get in touch!

E mail or call 07724 148613 if you have any memories, photos or other memorabilia to offer us.

Click here to select a tape clip from Toton Remembered

Part of our project is to produce a booklet reporting on our findings. We will continue to collect memories until the end of the project in April 2018.

To watch fascinating pre-war video footage of Toton on You-Tube, click here


Our Contacts

Many thanks to the following people who got in touch with us:

June Morley, Rex Wyatt, David Fairbrother, Brian Heath, Julie Kirk, Ashley Ellerby, Andy Merriman, Peter Glover, John Langford, Marion Drage, Margaret Scott, John Moore, Jim Stevenson, Roderick Fowles, Marion Bryce, Gary Bates, Peter Edge-Stenson, Mick Maltby, John Redgate, Keith Butler, David East, Darren Frieson, Richard Hodges, Peter Brookes, Sean Madden, Chris Mcgrath, John Woolley, Len Shaw, Nigel Deeley, David Hickton, Peter Griffin, Brenda Heydinger, Bill Chapman, Anthony Carr, John Dunn,Kay Bridge, Jean Clark, Robert Day, Geoff Birkin, David Balloch

Our Publicity Brochure

We included a tear-off slip in our publicity brochure encouraging people with memories to come forward and share them with us.

Project member David Farley took the brochures around various railway related societies and community groups together with a Power Point Presentation and a model layout

Press Releases

The launch of the project in the local press was managed by the Erewash Museum using their normal contacts.

So far this has generated the biggest response in offered memories. These varies from e-mails to letters and phone calls

We have also enjoyed joining The Dave Allen Show on Erewash Sound on a couple of occasions


Ernest Beswick

The first artefact we received was from forum member June Morley who sent in a letter her father, Ernest Beswick, received in thanks for his war effort at Toton Sidings. See the LMS War Thank You Letter

The yards were of course subject to air raids during WW2. We were told by one local resident that those living near Toton got an early air raid warning: Toton switched all its lighting off! This often happened before the official air raid siren sounded.


Jim and Carole Stevenson

Jim and Carole have been loyal supporters of the forum for many years. Typically in response to our appeal at one of our Open Forums, Jim picked up his pen and wrote to give us his memories.

In the 70's, Jim and Carole moved into a house in Royal Avenue. This is very near the entrance to the Down Hump Yard and Jim recalls the noise of the clashing wagons both day and night. See Jim's letter.

Jim and carole are shown opposite on one of our coach trips in 2016 to Burghley House.

John Moore

We had an encouarging letter ftrom John who worked as a guard at Toton from 1969 to 1984 after which he took redundanvy because of personal circumstances.

John wished us great success and tells us that he "loved every minute of " his work at the sidings

See John's letter

Forgive my scribblings at the bottom!

Herbert E Lemmons

Local author Rex Wyatt called with the offer of some photos. David Farley and I visited him and after viewing his spectacular model railway, he lent us a framed picture of his maternal grandfather, Herbert E Lemmons (1875-1925) taken in his guard's uniform. Herbert worked at Toton from 1910 - 1925 when sadly at the early age of 51 he succumbed to cancer. The Midland Railway actually arranged some visits to Buxton Spa in an attempt to help.

Rex also lent us a copy of BR Illustrated magazine from 1992 which had an excellent article on the yards and a framed picture of Toton in the snow.

British railways 9F freight loco leaving Toton Sidings southbound in the 1960's (picture by Rex Wyatt)

David Fairbrother

An email from David in mid-March 2017 offered a collection of photos and cuttings about Long Eaton which included some railway items. During a visit to David, he offered free use of his collection. David's father, James, moved up from Folkestone to work as a Grounds Shunt Man from 1956 - 1966. David regularly walked along Black Pad ( a footpath by the railway) to take his father's sandwiches before he went to school. No pampered kids in those days!

During a period off work, David used his time constructively to build up a fascinating collection of cuttings to cover the history of Long Eaton. There are 3 Ring Binders containing 240 pages of cuttings and notes written by David as well as some of his own photos

For an incomer like me, only moving to the area in 1974, these pages have proved fascinating. They take a journey through the town starting from the old Trent Station. There are lots of aerial shots, anecdotal references and links between past and present. It helped me to put the sidings in context with Long Eaton as it was then.

A typical picture from David Fairbrother's folder collection showing Long Eaton Station where it should be in Station Road in 1910.

Ernest Hallam

Brian Heath made contact regarding his grandfather, Ernest hallam who worked at Toton from 1914 and also fought in WW1. Ernest was Head Shunter and towards the end of his carreer worked in the Control Room. Unusually, he took some snapshots at work and put them in an album. One of them seems to date back to his early days with the railway.

Brian told me that his grandfather continued to follow the fortunes of Toton even after his retirement and had kept some useful documents which Brian kindly passed on. In particular, we were very pleased to get a copy of the 1939 Railway Gazette article about the modernisation of the Down Hump.

See opposite for more on the album.

Long Service Award to Mr Hallam (left)


Ernest Hallam Snapshot Album

see below for pictures from the album

Mr Hallam in his younger days (centre)

click here for larger picture

Mr Hallam (furthest from camera) in Control Room Click here for larger picture of the yards

Barry Ellerby

The late Barry Ellerby worked on the yards hump shunting for several years before moving on to mainline freight work. He was something of a hoarder and fortunately for us his son Ashley has kept most of his railway stuff. We have borrowed some of it for display (see picture)

Apparently Toton men were called rabbits because they got everywhere and Ashley passed on a rabbit badge, the only one I have seen. Also a picture (opposite) with a group holding the famous brake sticks!

Barry kept a letter he wrote about an awkward incident at the yard. All was not sweetness and light!

.. page 2 if you want the ending!

Shunters at Toton

Andy Merriman

Andy worked at Toton from 1970 to 2002 and got in touch to offer some memorabilia but also to invite us to his Carlton U3A Railway Interest Group. He was due to give a talk to the group about Toton!

I went along and thoroughly enjoyed his amusing and accessible presentation. Andy agreed to give a modified version at our Exhibition Preview Evening on May 25th (invitation only). This was much enjoyed on the night.

Click here for a picture of the "Toton 137 Years Presentation Plate" he is lending us .. that's not his years of service - ha ha!


Note the famous brake-sticks used to jam on the wagon brakes while running alongside the wagons! It was a dangerous occupation especially in wintry weather. The technique was used mainly before automation.


Ted Redgate

Ted Redgate (3rd from left, back row) was a chalker and then progressed to the hump room at Toton. His son, John, kindly supplied this excellent memory of shunters at Toton.. Click here for a larger image of the group.

On the right you will see a page from Ted's chalker book. It reminds him of the correct road numbers associated with each destination label which he would need tom chalk on the wagon as it approached the top of the hump.

It looks handwritten and is quite a find for the group.

Many thanks John for coming forward with this.

larger image of page from the chalker book here

Sean Madden

Sean Madden, an ex-Toton driver, kindly brought in some photos and a copy of an accident report from 6th December 1963 at Stanton Gate

Extract from Accident Report/1

Collision between two goods trains that occurred at about 1.32 am on Friday 6th December 1963 at Stanton Gate South.

On a fine night with good visibility the 10.40 pm Up Class 4 train from Leeds to Leicester running on the Up main line collided at about 45 mph with the 1.00 am Down Class 8 train from Toton to Woodhouse Mill after passing signals at danger. The Down train. Comprising 58 wagons and a brake van hauled by a steam locomotive, was crossing over the main lines from the No 2 Down Goods line to the No 1 Down Goods line and was moving at about 15 mph when it was struck diagonally neat its midpoint.
As a result of the collision the diesel locomotive of the Up train was derailed and extensively damaged and I regret to report that the driver and second man both lost their lives. The guards of both trains also received injuries and were taken to hospital, but the guard of the Up train was discharged the same day after treatment. Bpth men have since recovered from their injuries and returned to duty.
The first 6 vehicles of the 30 comprising the Up train were derailed and damaged and a total of 23 wagons in the rear part of the Down train were derailed and damaged to a varying extent, all lines being obstructed by the debris.

Extract from Accident Report/2

On arrival at Nottingham at 8.22pm Vincent and Carter relieved the crew of the Class 6 locomotive No 45562 .. and took it as light engine to Nottingham New Sidings to work the 8.55pm Class 4 train from Nottingham to Carlisle as far as Rotherham. Owing to congestion in the yard this train left 15 minutes late and arrived at Rotherham (Masborough) 71 minutes lateat 12.08 am. Here they were relieved and the 10.40 pm Leeds – Leicester which they were to work back, was already waiting for them in Masborough Sorting Sidings North, some yards distant. They effected the changeover without delay and the train left Masborough at 12.21 am.

At the time of the accident driver Vincent and Fireman Carter had been on duty for 7 hours and though the first two hours had been spent as passengers they had had no rest or relief time since they took over steam locomotive No 45562 at Nottingham at 8.22 pm apart from 13 minutes they took to effect the hurried changeover at Rotherham, where, normally, they would have a total of 54 minutes including 20 minutes rest time. Remembering that Vincent was comparatively unused to driving mainline diesel locomotives I think it very possible that the sudden change from steam to diesel with the contrast between the abundance of fresh air on the steam footplate and the possible lack of it in the diesel cab made it all too easy for him to become drowsy.

George Woolley

"George Woolley started work at Toton Sidings in 1948 around the time of nationalisation. For the first 18 months he was employed as a shunter but with the attraction of better rates of pay, he became a goods guard. Despite having to work sometimes 12 different shifts he loved his job and the men he worked with. Those he mentioned most were Phil Warwick, (listen to recording of Phil here!), Harry Shardlow, Alec Briggs, Chris Farrelly, Keith Brown, Stan Street (driver), Jack (John) Holmes (down hump). There were others but I can’t bring them to mind.
His boss was Alan Casey he had massive respect for him, a no-nonsense but very fair man, George retired in 1982 as a senior guard a few months short of his 65th birthday."

George's son, John, brought in this tribute that he had written of his father together with some photos and a guard's lamp. Many thanks, John!

  George Woolley taken at Toton towards the end of his long career as shunter and goods guard A shot of Toton guards (supplied by John Woolley)

Winter flooding near Toton approaching from the north

(supplied by John Woolley)

John Woolley taken at The Erewash Museum on our first Open Day in June 2017 when John brought in a working guard's lamp that belonged to George, his father. John also supported our second Open Day. John Woolley as boy in Toton Yards with unknown railwayman about 1958
William Carr, Toton goods guard, supplied by son who brought this in with his leaving certificate at our second Open day at The Erewash Museum A picture brought in to the museum in July by Brenda Heydinger showing her father Ernest Meads. She told me he had to drive the boiler blowout engine back from Long Eaton to Toton Jean Clark brought in a photo of her father Charlie Gammon taken from a book. He poses with two mates by a freight engine at Toton. Charlie often remarked when setting out to work in bad weather "not fit to turn a dog out!" (First Library Open Day Sat Oct 7th, 2017)
John Dunn brought in a splendid watch presented to his father,Tom, after 45 years service on the railway. Tom finished as Chief Clerk at the large Carriage & Wagon Works so vital in keeping the huge wagon fleet on the road. (First Library Open Day Sat Oct 7th, 2017) Our first memory on the October 7th event came from Kay Bridge who brought in several photographs of her father Reg who was a driver at Toton into diesel days. He retired in 1971 after 40 years service starting before World War 2 in the 1930's. We were particularly pleased to receive a small manual given to Kay's father Reginald Townsend to help him prepare for his exams to become a driver. There are some of his handwritten notes at the back and some superb pull-out diagrams (see above).

Working items used by guard Joe Hallam who worked from Toton Sidings in the 1920's.

kindly lent by rotarian Geoff Birkin

Joe is the figure on the left of this photo showing 0-6-0 locomotive with outside frames Chris McGrath worked as a fireman at Toton for several years before moving on to a career in the building trade. Chris is a keen musician and has kept his love of railways as seen here on his garden railway layout.
Fitting new roof section at Toton .. part of Chris McGrath's photo collection of which 6 images are shown here photo by 6201 Princess Elizabeth Society No 2 loco shed

Inside shed showing Garratt line

photo by 6201 Princess Elizabeth Society

WD Austerity 9F .. Chris fired many of these in his days at Toton and found they steamed okay

photo by 6201 Princess Elizabeth Society

photo by 6201 Princess Elizabeth Society    
We received a written account from Alan Atkinson as shown above. It told an unusual story about Toton. Alan was employed a an apprentice lad to assist with the installation of flood lighting in 1950 near to the engine shed. For typed-up version click here. Alan is 82 but kindly made the effort to share this precious memory,

42  Chris Corbett; Chris gave his collection of 1960’s railway tickets from local stations which disappeared by the 70’s. From these we were able to make a display to include old photos of the long gone stations such as Stapleford & Sandiacre, Long Eaton and Trowell.

Chris also donated a pamphlet about the Toton MPD from the same era.
Stapleford & Sandiacre Station as it was in the 60's with Diesel Type 4 approaching Toton Sidings

This wonderful picture was kindly sent to us by Michael Goodjohn after finding our website. Michael has researched his family history .. very Toton related!

grandfather: Amos Goodjohn, shunter, 3rd left in photo

great grandfather: Peter Daine, carriage painter at Toton Carriage & Wagon Works. He then moved on to be a warden at the Midland Railway hostel where his daughter met Amos Goodjohn!

great great grandfather: James Daine, joined the above works in 1875 as a gland packer (in census of 1881).

Shunter Group at Toton around 1922

(note the brake sticks!)

Third from the left at the front is Stanley Tilling. He was born in 1899 and worked at Toton from 1921 to 1970 first as a shunter and then as goods guard. He retired in 1970. His father, Walter, worked there as well as 'brakesman'

Stan Tilling was the guard on the mineral train involved in the railway accident which took place in December 1963 at Stanton Gate but was uninjured.

Skylarking at Toton around 1933

Stan Tilling is at the RH end (front).

This picture and the proceeding one were kindly supplied by grandson Alan Galinski. Alan's mother, Doreen, worked in the Toton MPD office from 1958 to 1960. Now9 2, she has a few tales to tell!