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Railway bridge over the Erewash Canal near the Sheet Stores, Long Eaton, 1987
8 May 1987
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Looking north with two railway bridges visible. The nearest plate girder structure carries the Sheet Stores-Castle Donington-Stenson Junction line, while the lattice girder bridge beyond takes the railway line connecting Derby with Nottingham, Leicester and London over the Erewash Canal.
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.