Commencing service soon after the opening of the line in 1848, the Tutbury Jinny was to outlive the three intermediate stations on the line, continuing to link Burton upon Trent with Tutbury until June 1960. At Tutbury, passengers could connect with trains bound for Stoke, Crewe and Uttoxeter where a change could be made for Ashbourne and the Churnet Valley line and Stafford by the GNR.
Other passenger trains calling at Rolleston-on-Dove were Burton upon Trent/Grantham via Derby Friargate and Nottingham Victoria, a GNR/LNER service that ceased at the onset of WW2, and Buxton/London Euston via Ashbourne and Nuneaton, a LNWR service that only called at Rolleston-on-Dove if a member of the Mosley family wished to travel, ceasing to run at the outbreak of WW1.
The Tutbury Jinny and predecessors:
Early motive power for this much-loved local train is shown as an artist's impression of NSR no. 8 on the panel top right; built 1848 by Hick & Sons at the Soho Works in Bolton as a 2-4-0, tender locomotive, it was converted to a 2-2-2 "single" tank engine to work the Burton/Tutbury service. Following its involvement in a fatal accident near Rolleston-on-Dove in 1861 it was re-numbered as no. 5 in 1870 and scrapped in 1881. This illustration has now been updated to match a drawing of the prototype, recently discovered, and its livery altered to represent the green livery worn by early NSR locomotives..
From 1866 until withdrawel 1882/91, 2-2-2 saddle tanks nos. 1 & 27 were shedded at Burton to work the service. The painting, second to top right, by L.A. Meads, reproduced by kind permission of Mr G. Locker, demonstrates this locomotive painted in the green livery adopted by the North Staffordshire Railway at that time. The locomotive hauling the Burton/Tutbury train on the opening day of Rolleston station in 1894 was NSR no. 2, a "B" class, 2-4-0 tank engine; designed by C. Clare, the chief mechanical engineer 1875-82 and built at Stoke works, it was to handle the village traffic into LMS times then carrying the number 1447, before transfer to the North London Lines and subsequent scrapping in 1930.
During the LMS era the title "Jinny" was applied when the train became a "pull and push"; ex Midland Railway, Johnson, 0-4-4 tank engines, one of them 58080 as illustrated, succeeded the B class tanks. LMS pull and push trailers were usually converted from bogie brake vehicles; the Jinny's auto coach being no exception, up to the early fifties, an ex NSR panelled carriage was utilised for controlling the Jinny on return runs to Burton, followed later by an LMS 57 foot flush sided brake.
Standard class 2, 2-6-2 tank engines, nos. 84006/7/8 as seen in the model photograph, handled the Jinny from the summer of 1953, but by the time of the final service, Ivatt class 2, 2-6-2 tank locomotive 41277 had taken charge.
Coaching stock was always of non-corridor type, although during the early fifties, summer Saturdays saw the Jinny conveying through coaches from Burton, to be coupled to the North Wales Coast train at Tutbury. Following closure of the service in 1960, the through carriages continued, one observer having noted the service in the charge of an ex LMS, class 4F locomotive. Commencing with 4 wheeled carriages, the Jinny acquired more sophisticated stock as developments were made. At the opening of Rolleston-on-Dove station, the train was made-up of 6 wheeled carriages, but bogie vehicles became the norm before the LMS period. Illustrated is a NSR, 49 foot bogie carriage, no. 209, known to have been part of the Jinny combination.
From the downline or northbound platform a passenger could travel east or west, therefore excursion trains to the coast in either direction became a regular seasonal part of the traffic. Remaining on NSR metals, two popular destinations were Alton Towers and Trentham Gardens, but further afield, Llandudno and New Brighton were frequently visited by, among others, the choir of Saint Mary's (Rolleston) Parish Church. Trains bound for the east coast would join the GN route at Dove Junction, travelling to Scegness and other Lincolnshire resorts via Derby Friargate and Nottingham Victoria. Excursion workings continued to call at Rolleston-on-Dove for some years following the station's closure. The photograph taken at Horninglow in October 1965 shows the last excursion, infact this final passenger train to traverse the route did stop at Rolleston-on-Dove station. A regular Saturday only, summer working was the Kings Norton /Scegness; not booked to stop at Rolleston-on-Dove, it would call at Eggington Junction to connect with the ex Crewe and Stoke train before proceeding to the east coast via Derby Friargate.
Milk, books and Mosleys:
The carriage of milk from the village farms necessitated the speed of a passenger train; farmers Shelly and Robinson among others, sending their churns by float each evening to the station. At the start of each school term, an allocation of books would arrive for the village school to be collected by two senior pupils with a barrow, supervised by a teacher. Visiters and supplies to Rolleston Hall were conveyed to and from the station in a float, resplendent in varnished wood with a plate bearing the Mosley insignia, drawn by a black horse.
It is unlikely that there was a daily collection and delivery of goods to and from the goods yard; the main traffic, livestock, agricultural supplies and coal, necessitating the opening of the signal cabin which was normally closed. The section would normally be controlled by Dove Junction and Stretton Junction signal boxes. It is reported that coal was transferred from railway wagon to bag by a Mr Richardson, succeeded by the Bentley Brothers, for delivery to homes in the village.
Unusual traffic included a dray laden with a large tree trunk that required five horses to haul it up the hill from Station Road to the loading dock. Post WW1, County Council tenant farms were built to the south and west of the village, during that construction period, the bricks arrived and were stored in the station yard before farmers and local carters reaped the benefit by delivering the bricks to site.
Through workings came in the shape of large boulders of alabaster being conveyed between the gypsum mine of J. C. Staton & Co at Fauld to that company's mill at Dallow Street, Burton where the rock was ground to produce plaster. Purchase of Tutbury cotton mill in 1890 for that purpose spelt the demise of that traffic through Rolleston-on-Dove. During WW2, a different traffic from Fauld passed through the station – munitions for the Allied Armed Forces in preparation for the Normandy Landings, dangerous loads!
Apart from through workings by the NSR to and from the Stoke-on-Trent area and those mentioned, LNWR and GNR freight trains using Horninglow goods yard and Hawkins Lane goods station, via the Hawkins Lane branch, regularly passed through the station. Of particular interest was the nightly Burton/York beer train, in LNER/BR days, usually handled by York based B16, 4-6-0 locomotive crewed by Annesley (Nottingham) men. When Burton bound, the locomotives on these turns worked tender first from Egginton Junction, as seen in the model photograph, to avoid using the Hawkins Lane turntable. It was essential that the locomotive climbed the steep embankment leaving Burton, via the Hawkins Lane branch, in Chimney first mode.
Towards the time of the line's closure, goods trains became much shorter, as can be seen in the photograph of the class 9F, 2-10-0 locomotive and train, about to pass under the footbridge.
On a summer Saturday in 1966 the northbound line enjoyed a brief revival, in fact the line probably saw more trains than in pre-war days. At some time on the preceding Friday a coal wagon, part of a northbound freight working, derailed to the south of Willington station. Apart from the crippled wagon blocking the line, the rails were ripped apart and rendered impassable. All northbound traffic throughout the weekend was diverted along the NSR route, through Rolleston-on-Dove as far as Dove Junction then onwards to re-join the Burton-Derby line at Stenson.
Steam haulage had remained very much the norm until closure, but during that one weekend in 1966, the line possibly saw more diesel hauled trains than in its whole life-span.