Railway track bed
The monochrome photograph taken in the 1960’s reveals the track bed of the old railway which once transported coal and waste from Brinsley Colliery. Steam locomotives would have run quite close to Vine Cottage which can be seen on the right of the picture. On the left, the tandem headstocks are visible in their original position.
D.H. Lawrence’s graphic account of a train passing Vine Cottage in his short story ‘Odour of Chrysanthemums’ describes a very different scene to the leafy footpath which exists today.
Lawrence describes the passing of the colliery locomotive in Odour of Chrysanthemums. Excerpt read by David Amos in local dialect. (1 minute, 5 seconds).
The small locomotive engine number four came clanking, stumbling down from Selston with seven full wagons. It appeared around the corner with loud threats of speed but the colt that it startled from amongst the gorse which still flickred indistinctly in the raw afternoon out distanced it to a canter. A woman walking up the railway line to Underwood drew back into the hedge, held her basket aside and watched the foot plate of the engine advancing.
The trucks thumped heavily past one by one with slow inevitable movement as she was insignificantly trapped between the jolting black wagons and the hedge. Then they curbed away towards the coppice, where the withered oak leaves dropped noiselessly whilst the birds pulling up the scarlet hips beside the track made off into the dusk that had already crept into the spinney.
As you progress along the linear footpath towards Brinsley Brook, a large dip in the former track bed suggests there would have been a railway bridge here in the past.