About this image
Looking north. The bridge in the foreground carries the railway line connecting Derby with Nottingham, Leicester and London over the Erewash Canal between Long Eaton (formerly Sawley Junction) station and Sheet Stores Junction. The more modern concrete structure in the background carries Fields Farm Road, the alignment of which follows the original (1839) course of the railway linking Derby and Nottingham at this point,
The Erewash Canal runs for 12 miles (19 km) from the River Trent via Long Eaton, Sandiacre and Ilkeston to Langley Mill and includes 14 locks. The Canal was engineered by John Varley and opened in 1779 at a cost of £21,000. Serving the industrialised Erewash Valley with its many coal mines, iron works and factories, it remained a useful transport artery well into the 20th century and it was only after World War Two that it began to fall into disuse. The section north of Gallows Inn at Ilkeston up to Langley Mill was declared unnavigable in 1962 and closure was proposed. The Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association was formed in 1968 and after much restoration work the Canal was reopened throughout. In the 1980s it was duly upgraded from a 'remainder' waterway to 'cruiseway' status.