An intergenerational heritage project sponsored by the 50plus forum
Thank you to Lottery Players who made this project possible
also see pages: toton memories toton recordings toton for schools

Copies of Toton Sidings Remembered Booklet are still available

by email to; cost £5.00 payable to Long Eaton & District 50plus Forum


Statfold Barn Railway Family Fun Fest Weekend July 6th and 7th 2019


The children and their parents enjoyed the Toton for Kids model layout and David Farley got lots of interest with his Toton Sidings stand and layout

Derbyshire Heritage Awards Event Friday May 3rd 2019 at The Barrow Roundhouse

We won in the partnership category for our work with The Erewash Museum




Celebration Event Monday June 11th 2018 2.00 to 3.30 pm in Long Eaton Town Hall

To mark the end of this HLF phase of our project we invited a number of guests to join us in celebrating this successful endeavour. Proceedings were opened by The Mayor and Mayoress of Erewash and then after a brief talk by Maureen Cooper from HLF, Pete Wearn and David Farley gave an illustrated report about the project.. Guests were then invited to look round exhibits set up in the Committee Room and to enjoy the delicious cakes from Collyers Nursery. The two model railways were set up for those interested. Forum members attending in the morning could also view the exhibits.


Roy, our Vice Chair with the Mayor & Mayoress Leela (SUSIT), Pete, Kate (erewash Museum), Roy, David and Nigel (whose father worked at Toton. Chris Corbett talks to photographer Mick Rhodes and Brenda Heydinger (whose father was a diver at Toton)


Project Events 2017 - 2018



Friday May 26th to Monday July 17th 2017

Exhibition : "Toton Sidings Remembered 1856 - 1984"

The Erewash Museum, Ilkeston


Tues Sept 19th to Monday Dec 11th:

Exhibition : "Toton Sidings Remembered 1856 - 1984"

Long Eaton Library, Tamworth Road, NG10 1JG


Fri Jan 12th to Thurs March 22nd 2018

Exhibition : "Toton Sidings Remembered 1856 - 1984"

Sandiacre Library, Doncaster Avenue, NG10 5FJ


Mon May 7th to Sat June 16th 2018

Exhibition : "Toton Sidings Remembered 1856 - 1984"

Stapleford Library, Church St, NG9 8GA


Sat July 21st to Tues July 24th 2018

Toton Project Layouts as an extra attraction for 3 days during the first week of this year's popular Beach at The Erewash Museum. The week will have other railway themed activities




Sat June 10th & Sat July 8th 2017

The Erewash Museum


Sat Oct 7th & Sat Oct 28th 2017

Long Eaton Library


Sat Nov 25th 2017

Petersham Community Hall, Long Eaton


Sat January 20th 2018 from 10am to 3 pm

Fri Mar 16th 2018 from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm

Sandiacre Library


Thu May 17th 2018 10.00 am to 6.00 pm

Thu June 7th 2018 10.00 am to 6.00 pm

Stapleford Library



Open Days: Model Layouts, Memory Collection, Activities for children, Meet The Project Team

Family groups particularly welcome!



project brochure    

The Exhibition at Stapleford Library Summer 2018

Many Toton Sidings railwaymen and their families lived in Stapleford so we are pleased to have our exhibition at the Stapleford Library in May 2018 for a 2 month stay. This library has a superb first floor area for exhibitions. We have been made very welcome.

We held a very enjoyable Open Day on May 17th with the two Toton layouts. The later closing time allowed us to catch some older children and their parents ie after school and we had some great fun getting the children involved in shunting puzzles. The next Open day is on Thursday June 7th from 10.30 am to 6.00 pm


HLF Sporting Lives and Working Lives launch event

We were pleased to be invited to provide a stall for this event on Thursday April 26th to show what the forum has done to remember working lives at Toton Sidings


The Exhibition at Sandiacre Library Winter 2018

Many Toton Sidings railwaymen and their families lived in Sandiacre so we were pleased to move the exhibition on to the Sandiacre Library in January 2018 for a 3 month stay. This library is smaller than that at Long Eaton but we were able to include most of the exhibits.

There was an Open Day on January 20th. David Farley and David Hickton brought along their exhibits and several ex-railwaymen came in to talk about old times while members of the public viewed the exhibits. The next Open day is on Friday March 16th 2018.


David Hickton and Paul Fisher with David’s Garratt Display in 0 gauge

David Farley with his 00 scale layout and working models

The excellent display cabinet again courtesy of The Erewash Museum


The Project Goes into School!


We are pleased to report the completion of 4 railway-based workshops with Year 5 and 6 at Longmoor Primary School. It was great to work with these children and their teachers and we were made very welcome. The fascinating questions they asked showed excellent engagement with the topic.

Located near the top of College Street, the school could not be much closer to the site of these famous sidings. We were invited in to build on a project these year groups have been doing about Victorian Long Eaton. They had found from a local census that many men were employed by the railway in Victorain times so we started there looking at the many and varied jobs offered by the Midland Railway around Long Eaton.


After a powerpoint presentation, the children worked through a worksheet on "Victorain Railways in Long Eaton". One class had time to learn more about the history of Toton Sidings and to try their new knowledsge to solve some questions based on our large schools posters. These included a map of local collieries and the famous AEROFILM photo of the yards taken in 1951

The picture opposite shows our G scale model under development. We are hoping to take this into schools in 2018 and to use it n various public events at railway rallies, fairs and museum events.Call Pete Wearn on 07724 148613 if you are interested in a booking.



The Exhibition at Long Eaton Library Autumn 2017

There were extra memory panels and information about our activities across the generations in 2018. Also the Erewash Museum generously allowed us to use their large cabinet for our displays

The First Library Open Day

This was held on Saturday October 7th 2017 was a great success with more memories and fun with the layouts.

A particular gem was a small book belonging to Driver Reg Townsend called "Question to Enginemen, &C" used by firemen in preparation for exams to pass to driver. This was brought along in the morning session by daughter Kay Bridge.

Here are a few photos of the day.



Jean Clark brought in a phto showing her father Charlie Gammon together with two other enginemen at Toton. See picture opposite. Charlie Gammon ( on the left) with two colleagues at Toton This watch was presented to Tom Dunn and kindly lent to us for the exhibition by his son John.
Reg Townsend Toton driver. These items were brought in by his daughter Kay Bridge.. Reg Townsend receiving his retirement watch for 40 years service in 1971. An extract from his driver manual. It includes some superb pull-out line diagrams.
This 00-gauge layout was built by David Farley and includes several wagons and steam locomotives used at Toton Sidings Here a young visitor enjoys trying his skill at controlling the G-scale hump shunting demonstration buily by Pete wearn. David Hickton, here, recently retired driver from Toton, brought in these splendid 0-gauge models and a display of pictures and a video.



The Exhibition at The Erewash Museum Summer 2017

Our exhibition and Open Days were a great success and a big thank you goes to the forum management committee for their support and to the project team for all their hard work in setting up and running these events. We would also like to thank the museum staff and all those local people who responded to our appeals for memories, photos and so on for the displays.

Museum manager Helen Martinez wrote

During the summer of 2017 we were lucky enough to host the Toton Sidings exhibition which was an extremely popular attraction to the museum and greatly increased our visitor figures during the period of the exhibition.  It brought in a lot of new audiences and we were delighted to see lots of people from Long Eaton coming to the museum.  It also brought in a lot of people who were interested in the rail and engineering aspects.

The group ran a number of special open days during the summer with rail layouts, activities for children and opportunities to share memories about the Sidings. 

We were delighted to be involved so heavily in the project and are pleased that the exhibition has moved on to the library.

Here are some photos for you!

Our interpretation panels tracing yards history A looped Powerpoint with recorded voice overs Jim examines the engaging display of diesel maintenance men at work provided by Mick Rhodes
The commissioned BR poster by Stephen Millership with guidance from the team Our tabletop enlaargement of a famous 1951 aerial view of the yards Our trophy cabinet with some of the items kindly lent in response to our brochure appeal
Andy Merriman, who worked at the yards, gave a super talk at our Preview Evening Some of the Preview Evening guests conversing in the Lally gallery Another preview evening shot
Two special guests! Lost in thought?! Mo Cooper from HLF enjoyed the show, encouraging more people to apply for heritage support
Pete provided some cool entertainment The first public engagement for the new Mayor of Erewash .. we were honoured indeed Our poster artist, Stephen Millership, tests the coolness of our liquid nitrogen. We were delighted that he could attend the preview evening.


Following its successful appearance in The Erewash Museum this summer, our Toton Sidings Remembered 1856 – 1984 Exhibition moved to Long Eaton Library this autumn. The library kindly hosted the exhibition from Tuesday September 19th to Monday December 11th.

The displays included

1. Memorabilia kindly lent by retired Toton railwaymen or their relatives
2. Information panels tracing the history of the sidings and including newly released NRM archived photographs.
3. Panels displaying letters and photos collected by the project team
4. A large poster depicting the yards in BR style showing how the yards were in their heyday with a simplified layout (see picture). The poster was produced by heritage artist, Stephen Millership.
5. An engaging display of B/W photos showing men at work in the diesel maintenance depot taken by Mick Rhodes.
For more details see If you would like to lend any items for the show, please contact Pete Wearn at or call 07724 148613. Alternatively bring them along to our Open Day on Saturday, October 7th, when we will be in the library all day with our model layouts.
This project was made possible by the generous help of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Click here to view the response from our memories request

How It Began

Trainspotting in the 50's, Visiting Preserved Steam Railways and A Talk by Local Railway Historians at Trent College in 2015

So many of my generation of (mostly) boys enjoyed trainspotting during the heyday of steam in the 1950's and early 60's. Little did we know how quickly steam engines would be disappearing from the network!

Then from the 70's enthusiasts started to revive the interest in steam with an ever increasing number of working steam railways. Our forum has visited one of these almost every year as you can see by checking out our recent coach trips.

Then in the autumn of 2015, my Vice-Chair Roy Smith encouraged me to attend a talk about a local marshalling yards, called Toton Sidings, at my old school, Trent College, where I was lucky enough to work for 29 happy years. Anyway the talk went on a long time but was excellent with some superb images. I got to meet the presenters, Brian Amos and Phil Burton. They had been researching the topic of Toton Sidings for several years and had obtained copies of photos taken over the years by official railway photographers and kept in the archives of the National Railway Museum in York. They each had a relative who worked there and had been railway enthusiasts from boyhood.

It was driving home from this talk (along a very familiar route) that I got to thinking this topic should be taken further with the help of our forum

Bury Station

Trainspotting in East Anglia

An express passenger loco 60504 "Mons Meg" built by Sir Nigel Gresley and named after a racehorse. Seen here at Peterborough North Station where I spent some very happy days as a lad.

I was brought up in various locations in East Anglia mostly the lovely market town of Bury St Edmunds. Hence my loyalties were to the Great Eastern and the LNER (hisssss!!).

BUT a boy from the class above me moved down from the Nottingham area and told us with pride of the famous Toton Sidings and the name stuck!

East Lancs Railway 50plus Forum Visit 2016

Our party of about 90 members made a busy start to the day for the welcoming volunteer railway staff ( photo by David Pinney) After our steam trip, we looked round Bury and visited the transport museum (very good).

We have also visited the North York Moors Railway, the Severn Valley Railway and the Keighley & Worth Railway. These trips are arranged by our Trips Organiser, Ian Neill.

Our next railway visit is to the Nene Valley Railway near Peterborough. The trip will be on Wednesday, September 20th. Check out our coach trip page for more info and booking details.

Our Project Advisers

Here we see Brian Amos(left) and Phil Burton at the National Railway Museum handling precious archived photographic plates.

They have inspired this project and done so much to help and guide us as we became more ambitious in our aims. Phil has been to one of our meetings!

Philip thought of contacting The Erewash Museum and also dug out a great 2002 Millenium Project about Toton undertaken by the late Bill Roys .. both very valuable contributions

Brian ferreted out the original of the famous 1951 Aerofilms aerial shot of the yards and guided the commission of our BR poster (more later!)

Toton Project Group

David Farley (left) joined us to make a project group of 4 seen here manning our display stand at the HS2 Event in Long Eaton in January 2017.

We knew members of the HS2 group from our Open Forum meetings and approached them for a place at their event day. They were very helpful and we had a great day with many of the 2,200 visitors calling at our stand.

Behind us is our publicity stand and train layout built by David, a keen railway modeller. David has taken the display and layout to a large number of events, mostly model railway exhibitions. As covered later, this work has brought in some very useful memories and useful contacts locally.

Erewash Museum Staff

The museum was very encouraging when we got in touch and have played a vital part in our venture, hosting our meetings and giving us some useful advice about funding and exhibitions.

On the right is museum director, Helen Martinez, and in the centre is Debbi Mills who deals with school parties that visit the museum

Helen and Debbi encouarged us to mount an exhibition and to apply for a Heritage Lottery Fund grant which we did in mid 2016. The application process was straighforward and advice was just a phone call away. We opted for the Sharing Heritage category wth awards in the £3,000 to £10,000 bracket..

Heritage Lottery Fund Award

After submission online, there is a wait of 8 weeks ..

In November 2016, I received a very welcome phone call from HLF while on a walk near Spondon. We had been granted all the money we had requested with the proviso that we found 10% from elsewhere. We got £9,600.

Our forum treasurer, Shirish Patel, agreed to manage the budget for us.

We could now get on with detailed planning and execution of the project!

Interpretation panels

We have commissioned 9 Interpretation Panels (see part of one above) with images partly taken from Phil & Brian's collection. Some of these have not been seen in the public domain before their talks. The panels trace the history of the yards and include the famous Garratt locos and a tribute to Phil & Brian.

Our artist, Stephen Millership, did the final formatting for us.

Whitemoor Poster 1951

The poster shown above dates from the 1950's when British railways were very enthusiatic about their recent modernisation programme.

It shows their flagship modernisation of Whitemoor Marshalling Yards near March in Cambs. I remember it well from my train journeys from Bury St Edmunds to Peterborough as a boy.


Our Toton Poster

We decided to commission a poster artist, Stephen Millership, to produce a similar poster for Toton Sidings.

Much discussion within our team and emails between Brian and Stephen led to a final design of which we are very proud

We have had it printed in Quad Royal size (102 cm by 128 cm) but the poster is also going to be available in smaller print size in the museum shop.


video clip of hunt shumping demo to be used in the school workshops will be online shortly
Some of the Barry Ellerby (Toton-based driver) collection kindly passed to the project by his son Ashley Alan Stewart, who started at Toton in 1949. was one of 8 Toton men who were interviewed by Bill Roys. Click here to listen to a clip of the recording. Garden Scale Railway is cumbersome and greedy of space but always makes an impact on youngsters who haven't seen it before

Memory Collection

A large part of our Sharing Heritage project was to use our links to invite memories from our forum members and the wider public in the local area. There are so many who have memories , or relatives who worked at the sidings. We put requests in the press and on our publicity brochures and got a good response wth old photos, retirement gifts and working badges etc.

Some of these will be on display at our exhibitions while others may be only be on view at our Open Days.

Lists and samples of the collection can be seen here.

Millenium Project

In 2002, Bill Roys recorded memories of several men who worked at Toton, one from as early as 1939. Thanks to Phil Burton, we unearthed the tapes and from Toton Library.

We have listened to the tapes and transferred some clips for use in the project. Sadly, Bill has passed away but his son has given us his warm permission to use them. These tapes are so valuable as since then so many who had memories of the sidings have now passed away.

To hear the clips and learn more about this project, click here

Schools Workshops

Our offer of free workshops in the museum during the run of the exhibition did not elicit any bookings from schools.

However this autumn we have visited Longmoor Primary School and have given 4 workshops to classes from their Years 5 and 6. See article near the top of page

Mick Rhodes Toton Motive Power Depot Display

These wonderfully evocative B/W pictures of the Toton Diesel Maintenance Depot were taken in 1993/4 by an amateur photographer called Mick Rhodes. Mick worked at Toton as a fitter having served his apprenticeship at Arnold and SE Derbyshire Colleges in 1979.

Mick was encouraged in this photographic project by a graduate engineer working there at the time. The Toton Sidings Remembered project team was delighted to receive these pictures and has covered the cost of printing from negatives for the exhibition. They nicely complement our collection of images set in the days of steam around the yards, giving some idea of the next chapter in the life of Toton.

A Class 58 engine has been removed from its loco and is ready to be shipped out for re-conditioning (from left, Stuart Main, Mick James, Tim Goff) A re-conditioned engine from Doncaster is hoisted from a low loader by a 76 ton breakdown crane. (a crane was later installed inside) The Class 58 gets its reconditioned engine. The task including the refit would take 2-3 days  (from left, Stuart Main, Pete Stone)
During the F exam of a Class 56, a piston liner is winched out for replacement. The class had a 16 cylinder engine developing 5,000 HP (from left, Graham Bates, Stuart Crowson ) A fitter at work in the engine room of a Class 56. (Pete Stone) Working in cramped conditions in the engine room of a Class 60 (in foreground, Stuart Broughton)
Roads 5 to 12 with line-up of Class 56 and 58 locos awaiting attention .. an impressive site indeed. Mick took this from the overhead crane ladder on Roads 13 – 15. In the lifting bay, a Class 56 off its bogies for traction motor and bogie maintenance. Note the 20t Matterson Screw jacks and the 2 new compressor motors in the foreground A Class 56 undergoing F exam. Note the removed roof panel is stored above the engine to save space on the depot floor, a good idea suggested by Peter Allen.
Two fitters come for some tools and a chat! (from left, Bill Parham, Bob Booth, Roy Adkin) Part of the wheel set of Class 08 diesel shunter removed for attention on the lifting bay. These shunters did all the hump shunting at Toton. In the staff canteen, there are various modes of entertainment over the lunch hour from quiet reading in the foreground to cards and dominoes further from the camera.