Dearne Valley line

The Dearne Valley line is the name given to a railway line in the north of England running from York to Sheffield via Pontefract Baghill and Moorthorpe.

Dearne Valley line
LocaleNorth Yorkshire
South Yorkshire
West Yorkshire
Yorkshire and the Humber
OwnerNetwork Rail
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge


The northernmost section of the route was opened in stages by the fledgling York and North Midland Railway (Y&NM), a company which belonged to the railway empire of George Hudson. York to Sherburn Junction was completed in 1839 to form a link with the Leeds and Selby Railway, which was later taken over by the Y&NM. This section includes Ulleskelf, Church Fenton and Sherburn-in-Elmet stations, as well as the former station sites at Copmanthorpe (closed 1959) and Bolton Percy (closed 1965).

Y&NM extended the line to Altofts Junction in 1840 to meet the new North Midland Railway as part of a new route from York to London St Pancras via Normanton, Swinton, Chesterfield and Derby. Stations on this section were Milford (closed 1904), Monk Fryston (closed 1959) and Burton Salmon (also closed in 1959), where the present route diverges. The next section, from Burton Salmon to Ferrybridge, was completed in 1850 to form a link between York and Knottingley; Ferrybridge station closed in 1965.

From Ferrybridge, the route takes up the course of the Swinton and Knottingley Joint Railway, constructed in 1879. The first station encountered is Pontefract Baghill, which remains open today, before the line reaches a closed station at Ackworth (last served in 1951) then the station at Moorthorpe. The small hamlet of Frickley saw its station close in 1953, but two new stations at Thurnscoe and Goldthorpe were constructed in the 1980s. These are primarily served by Wakefield Line trains; the two Dearne Valley line trains a day pass through without stopping. Finally, the S&KJR's Bolton-on-Dearne station has remained open throughout.

Beyond Bolton-on-Dearne the line joins the North Midland's route to the south, opened in 1840 and serving Swinton, a new station here replacing that closed in 1967 and Kilnhurst West (also closed in 1967).

At Aldwarke Junction the route diverges from the North Midland via a junction constructed by British Rail and opened in 1965. Here it joins the former Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway line, part of a link between two branch lines opened many years earlier by the South Yorkshire Railway. This section once had stations at Parkgate and Aldwarke (closed 1951) and at Rotherham Road (closed 1953), before reaching the former Rotherham Central re-opened, slightly nearer the College Road bridge, in 1987 by British Rail. Leaving Rotherham Central we take the "Holmes Chord", a single line to Holmes Junction where we take to the rails of the Sheffield & Rotherham company, which opened its line in 1838 and which once served Holmes (closed in 1955), Meadowhall (a new station opened in 1991), Wincobank (closed 1956), Brightside (closed 1994) and Attercliffe Road (closed 1994), before arriving at Sheffield. The section between Holmes Junction, adjacent to the station and Grimesthorpe Junction is the oldest section of the route.

Current services

Services which operate over the entire length of the route are provided by Northern. Freight trains also regularly use the route.

Northern services, which currently[1] make just two round trips daily, call at Sheffield, Meadowhall, Rotherham Central, Swinton, Moorthorpe, Pontefract Baghill, Sherburn-in-Elmet, Church Fenton, Ulleskelf and York. This service was more frequent in the 1970s and 1980s (e.g. the 1988 timetable had seven trains per day in each direction Mon-Sat, including a summer only through service to and from Scarborough, and four each way on Sundays), but since a major round of cutbacks in 1991 (due to a shortage of rolling stock) the service frequency has gradually declined.

The northern part of the route as far as Colton Junction is used by all Edinburgh to London King's Cross expresses, as well as the numerous CrossCountry, TransPennine Express and Northern York to Leeds workings which continue as far as Church Fenton. Sherburn-in-Elmet is served by some York–Selby/Hull trains which diverge from the route at Sherburn South Junction, but beyond this point the only passenger trains are the infrequent Sheffield–York local services, until Moorthorpe is reached.

Overall, the effect of this is that there are only two departures in each direction from Pontefract Baghill per day, although there are two other stations in Pontefract (Pontefract Monkhill and Tanshelf). The line is however a busy freight artery (particularly with bulk loads of imported coal for the power stations at Ferrybridge, Eggbrough and Drax and also further afield in the East Midlands) and also a useful diversionary route, which ensures its continuing survival.

From 2017, the section between Meadowhall and Rotherham Central will be adapted for use by Stagecoach Supertram, the light rail network that operates within Sheffield. Supertram will operate a pilot tram-train service over the route, testing the feasibility of such an operation. This is initially intended to run for two years, with an extension of the operation should it prove successful. It will see the construction of a new chord between the National Rail line and Supertram's own network, together with a short extension to Rotherham's Parkgate Shopping Centre, the electrification of the route as far as Parkgate, and the construction of new tram platforms at Rotherham Central. The extension is now due to open on 25 October.[2]


  1. ^ Table 33 National Rail timetable, May 2017
  2. ^ "Sheffield to Rotherham tram-train – Everything you need to know". Retrieved 16 October 2018.


  • Rail Atlas: Great Britain & Ireland, by S. K. Baker
  • The Railways of Great Britain: A Historical Atlas, by Colonel Michael H. Cobb
Ackworth railway station

Ackworth railway station was a railway station serving Ackworth in the English county of West Yorkshire.

Bolton Percy

Bolton Percy is a village and civil parish in the Selby district of North Yorkshire, England. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 305 in 115 households, reducing marginally to 304 at the 2011 census. The village is about four miles east of Tadcaster.

Church Fenton railway station

Church Fenton railway station serves Church Fenton in North Yorkshire, England. It is on the former York and North Midland Railway main line from York to Normanton, just under 10.75 miles (17 km) from York.

Copmanthorpe railway station

Copmanthorpe railway station was a railway station that served the village of Copmanthorpe, North Yorkshire, England from 1839 to 1959 on the Dearne Valley line.

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The line is classed as a high-speed line because the sections of the line from Birmingham to Wakefield and from Leeds to York have a speed limit of 125 mph (200 km/h), though the section from Birmingham to Bristol is limited to 100 mph (160 km/h) due to there being numerous level crossings, especially half-barrier level crossings, and the section from Wakefield to Leeds is limited to 100 mph (160 km/h) due to a number of curves.


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Meadowhall Interchange

Meadowhall Interchange is a transport interchange located in north-east Sheffield, consisting of a combined heavy rail station, tram stop and bus and coach station. The second-busiest heavy rail station in the city in terms of passenger numbers, Meadowhall Interchange provides connections between National Rail services, the Sheffield Supertram light rail network, intercity coach services and the city bus network.

The interchange was opened in 1990 by British Rail under the Regional Railways sector, to serve the new Meadowhall shopping centre, which opened at the same time and is connected to the interchange by a pedestrian footbridge. The interchange is now owned by Network Rail and operated by Northern, with additional services provided by TransPennine Express.

Moorthorpe railway station

Moorthorpe railway station serves Moorthorpe and South Kirkby, near Pontefract, in the City of Wakefield district of West Yorkshire, England. It lies on the Wakefield Line and the Dearne Valley Line, 18 1⁄4 miles (29.4 km) north of Sheffield and is served by Northern.

The station was opened in May 1879, jointly by the Midland Railway and North Eastern Railway, as part of their Swinton and Knottingley Joint Railway scheme. A short chord was also built at the same time to link the S&K Joint line with the main Doncaster to Leeds line at South Kirkby Junction. Upon opening, Moorthorpe marked the northern limit of the part of the line maintained by the Midland Railway; the southern end of the intersection bridge over the Doncaster to Leeds line, marked the actual boundary. North of that point, the North Eastern Railway undertook the maintenance. Moorthorpe station is of North Eastern Railway design, as is Pontefract Baghill.This latter connection is now part of the main line between Sheffield and Leeds, and is used by CrossCountry services between Edinburgh Waverley and Birmingham New Street, and beyond. In addition, local trains on the Leeds – Rotherham Central – Sheffield route (Wakefield Line) use the spur and call at the station. This connecting line is now effectively the main line, and it splits from the S & K route immediately north of the station, with the track to York then bridging the GNR main line on its way northwards. This junction (and the adjacent loops to the south of the station) was controlled from the nearby Midland Railway signal box until May 2011, but following signalling equipment renewal work the area is now under the control of the ROC at York.After the station was reduced to the status of an unstaffed halt in the 1980s, the station building was converted into a pub. This closed in the early 1990s and the building became derelict. However it has recently been restored by the town council, with funding from the Railway Heritage Trust, to include office space and a cafe.A footbridge was opened at the station at the end of May 2010; previously passengers had to cross the tracks at a flat crossing.

Pontefract Baghill railway station

Pontefract Baghill railway station is the least busy of the three railway stations in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England. The other stations, Monkhill and Tanshelf, both lie on the Pontefract Line, while Baghill lies on the Dearne Valley Line 21 1⁄4 miles (34 km) south of York towards Sheffield.

Pontefract line

The Pontefract line is one of the rail services in the West Yorkshire Metro area of northern England. The service is operated by Northern, and links Wakefield and Leeds with Goole via Pontefract. The Metro timetable for the line also includes services operated as the Dearne Valley line between York and Sheffield via Pontefract.

The line, which passes through the former mining areas to the east of Wakefield and Castleford, has the greatest number of stations opened by the West Yorkshire Metro. MetroCards are available on the route as far as Knottingley: a limited service of trains continues to Goole by this route.

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Rotherham Central station

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Rotherham Central is the only railway station in Rotherham since the closure of Rotherham Masborough, in 1988. However, it has retained its "Central" suffix, like Lincoln Central railway station.

Selby Line

The Selby Line is a secondary railway line in Yorkshire. England, linking Leeds to Selby via Micklefield, and then on to Kingston upon Hull (Hull). Hull Trains, London North Eastern Railway, Northern and TransPennine Express operate passenger trains on the line.

In the second half of 2018, a 9.5-mile (15.3 km) stretch of line between Howden and Hessle had all its semaphore signalling and signal boxes decommissioned in favour of digital control overseen by the Rail Operating Centre in York. One of the crossing boxes at Crabley Creek has remained operational and worked by a Network Rail representative as the original deeds for the acquisition of the land by the railway company dictated that as long as the crossing existed, it should be manned. Most of the boxes were either boarded up or demolished though those at Melton Lane and Gilberdyke junction were retained as welfare facilities for railway workers.

Sherburn-in-Elmet railway station

Sherburn-in-Elmet railway station serves the village of Sherburn-in-Elmet near Selby in North Yorkshire, England. The station is located approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) from the village and is 12.75 miles (21 km) south of York.

The railway through Sherburn-in-Elmet was opened in 1840 by the York and North Midland Railway. The station was closed on 13 September 1965 but reopened in 1984 by British Rail with local authority support.

Sherburn-in-Elmet is on both the Dearne Valley Line and the Hull-York Line towards Selby. Trains to/from the latter use the curve south of the station to the former Leeds and Selby Railway at Gascoigne Wood Junction, which was opened just a few months after the main Y&NMR route. This line became the main rail route between Hull and York after the route via Market Weighton and Beverley fell victim to the Beeching Axe in November 1965, though many of its trains were in turn diverted via the newly constructed north curve at Hambleton and the East Coast Main Line Selby Deviation when this opened in 1983. Since the mid-1990s though, a number of Hull - York trains have reverted to the old route to provide Sherburn with commuter links to and from York in the wake of cutbacks to the Dearne Valley line timetable (this had seven trains each way when the station reopened in 1984, but now has only two - see below) and avoid the increasingly busy ECML.

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Swinton and Knottingley Joint Railway

The Swinton and Knottingley Joint Railway was a British railway company formed to connect the Midland and Great Central lines at Swinton, north of Rotherham, with the North Eastern Railway at Ferrybridge, near Knottingley, a distance of 16 miles (26 km), opening up a more direct route between York and the Sheffield area.

Ulleskelf railway station

Ulleskelf railway station serves Ulleskelf in North Yorkshire, England. The station is 8.75 miles (14 km) south of York.

West Yorkshire Metro

Metro is the passenger information brand used by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority in England. It was formed on 1 April 1974 as the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (WYPTE) at the same time as the metropolitan county of West Yorkshire. The Metro brand has been used from the outset, and since the formal abolition of the WYPTE on 1 April 2014, it has been the public facing name of the organisation. The transport authority of West Yorkshire, responsible for setting transport policy, is the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. The WYCA is also responsible for delivery of transport policies.

York and Selby Lines

The York and Selby lines are commuter railway lines in West and North Yorkshire. They provide a frequent service between Leeds, York, and Selby and intermediate stations. Metrocards of West Yorkshire Metro can be used between Leeds and Micklefield. Train operating companies are Northern for stopping trains, and CrossCountry, London North Eastern Railway and TransPennine Express for long-distance trains which continue beyond the termini of the local routes to and from Hull, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, the south of England and Scotland.

Dearne Valley line
ECML northbound
ECML southbound
Church Fenton
Left arrow Pontefract Monkhill
                    Knottingley Right arrow
Pontefract Baghill
Rotherham Parkgate
Rotherham Central Sheffield Supertram
Meadowhall Sheffield Supertram
Sheffield Sheffield Supertram
Light railways
Railway stations in West Yorkshire
MetroTrain lines
City of Bradford
City of Leeds
City of Wakefield
Outside West Yorkshire,
but within the
West Yorkshire Metro area

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