Dearne Valley Line

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Dearne Valley Line
Principal stations
Rotherham Central
Pontefract Baghill
Church Fenton



The Dearne Valley Line is one of the named British railway lines in the north of England. It runs from York via Pontefract Baghill and Moorthorpe to Sheffield. The northern-most section 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 Burton Salmon in 1840 as part of a new route from York to London, via Altofts Junction, Swinton, Chesterfield and Derby.

Stations on this section were Milford (closed 1904), Monk Fryston (closed 1959) and Burton Salmon (also closed in 1959). Burton Salmon-Ferrybridge was completed in 1850 to form a link between York and Knottingley; Ferrybridge station closed in 1965. From Ferrybridge, heading south along this joint section, the first station encountered is Pontefract Baghill, which remains open today, before we reach a closed station at Ackworth (last served in 1951) then the station at Moorthorpe.

Frickley saw its station close in 1953, whilst Thurnscoe and Goldthorpe stations survived until the 1960's. They were both reopened in the 1980's. Bolton-on-Dearne station has remained open throughout. Beyond Bolton-on-Dearne we rejoin 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 & Aldwarke (closed 1951) and 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 is the oldest section of the route.

Current services

Services which operate over the entire length of the route are provided by Northern Rail as well as by a number of Virgin Cross-Country trains. Freight trains also regularly use the route.

The Northern Rail services call at Sheffield, Meadowhall, Rotherham Central, Swinton, Moorthorpe, Pontefract Baghill, Sherburn-in-Elmet, Church Fenton, Ulleskelf and York. There are presently only two round trips daily. [1] The northern part of the route as far as Colton Junction is used by all Edinburgh-London Kings Cross expresses, as well as the numerous Leeds-York 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.

The effect of this is that there are only two arrivals in each direction at Pontefract Baghill per day. Though there are two other stations in Pontefract (Pontefract Monkhill and Tanshelf). There is, however, heavy freight traffic on this section which justifies its continued survival.



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

Web based

  1. Northern Rail timetable, 6th April 2006


Railway lines in Northern England:
Main lines:  Cross-Country Route   East Coast Main Line   Midland Main Line   West Coast Main Line
 Chester-Manchester Line    Hope Valley Line   Liverpool-Manchester Line    Manchester-Preston Line   Settle-Carlisle Railway
Commuter lines:  Airedale Line Blackburn-Bolton Line   Caldervale Line   Mid-Cheshire Line   Dearne Valley Line  
 East Lancashire Line   Glossop Line   Hallam Line   Harrogate Line   Huddersfield Line Kirkby Branch Line  
 Lancaster-Heysham Line   Leeds-Bradford Lines   Liverpool-Wigan Line    Manchester Airport Line  
 Manchester-Southport Line   Northern Line   Oldham Loop Line   Northallerton-Eaglescliffe Line  
 Ormskirk Branch Line   Pontefract Line   Sheffield-Hull Line   Sheffield-Lincoln Line   Stockport-Stalybridge Line  
 Wakefield Line   Wharfedale Line   Wirral Line   York & Selby Lines  York-Scarborough Line
Rural lines:  Barton Line   Borderlands Line   Buxton Line   Cumbrian Coast Line   Doncaster-Lincoln Line  
 Durham Coast Line   Esk Valley Line   Tees Valley Line   Furness Line   Hull-York Line   
 Oxenholme-Windermere Line   Penistone Line   Ribble Valley Line   Newcastle and Carlisle Railway  
 Yorkshire Coast Line
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