I shall be heading to Ilkeston from Manchester by train on the opening day of the new station. As many people know it has been a long wait for the opening of Ilkeston Station.
When I step onto the platform it will be the first time I will have alighted from a train at Ilkeston since I was a baby, taking a return journey with my parents from Ilkeston North to Nottingham Victoria in 1963. I don’t remember much about it.
I do however remember watching the trains from the road bridge on Manners Avenue, seeing trains on Bennerley Viaduct and later watching workmen lift the tracks near the Rec.
The closure of the railways around Ilkeston meant many things, the main one for my mates and myself was it left a great place to play. The old Ilkeston North station, the viaduct, the old signal boxes, footbridges and miles of embankments and cuttings were explored at one time or another.
I grew up in Ilkeston and moved away to Manchester over thirty years ago to study graphic design. My family still live in the town and over the years I have returned many times and try not to miss the annual fair.
What the new Station will mean for me is an alternative to the road journey from Manchester along the A6 through the Peak District, which can sometimes be quite slow. There will be a direct service from Manchester to Ilkeston, which I hope will be quicker and more relaxing than taking the car.
A walk from my parent’s house in Cotmanhay, along the cut, a quick pint in the Dewdrop and a train back to Manchester sounds very inviting.
I have illustrated many views of my home town recently so I knew I had to mark the opening of Ilkeston Station with a new image. I wanted to show the town in a positive light.
— Stephen Millership (@smillership) March 10, 2017
Like many market towns, it has suffered over recent years with the decline of traditional industries such as mining, steel manufacturing and the textile industry.
Erewash Museum has kindly offered to stock my new work which I hope will be a fitting celebration of such an important event for the town.