The history of unique Nottinghamshire rail line

The Lancashire, Derbyshire and East Coast Railway

By Tony Clement

The railway line that crosses the main A60 road in Warsop next to Warsop Motor Company, has a very interesting and chequered history.

This line was part of the grandly-titled Lancashire, Derbyshire and East Coast Railway, which commenced building in June 1892.

The scheme was to link Warrington, next to the Manchester Ship Canal with a purpose-built line to Sutton-on-Sea in Lincolnshire, where the railway company were to build extensive dock facilities.

The line which runs through Nottinghamshire at Tuxford, Ollerton, Edwinstowe and Warsop, managed to get as far as Chesterfield, before running out of cash, consequently the only section built was from Lincoln, Pye Wipe Junction to Chesterfield Market Place Station.

Some of the engineering to get it to Chesterfield was extensive, the Trent was spanned at Fledborough by a 59-arch viaduct approach, built with nearly 9 million bricks, at a cost of £59,000, and a girder span over the river, it is still there and is well worth a look.

Other notable features are Langwith Junction station; also one of the longer tunnels in England at Bolsover, and massive viaducts into a station at Chesterfield Market Place.

These engineering feats were nothing compared to what the company proposed after Chesterfield, if it had carried on, to cross the Pennines it proposed a 300-foot viaduct over Monsall Dale, dwarfing the one already there on the Midland Railway.

The line had some interesting features some that still can be seen, at Tuxford there was a locomotive repair works, with facilities for engine and carriage repairs. The line also had an interesting station to the east of Tuxford called Dukeries Junction, this was a station built where the line crossed the East coast main line at Tuxford, it was proposed that trains on the main line could transfer passengers at this station to the LDEC line for onward travel.

A notable traveller on the LDEC in the early 1900s was Edward Prince of Wales who travelled in the royal train to Ollerton, he liked horse racing and spent time at Rufford and Welbeck, then went on to see the St. Leger at Doncaster.

He also travelled to Ollerton as King in 1903 to 1906 on the royal train mainly to see the horse racing.

This line was named the Dukeries Line, and was expected to generate a lot of tourist trade in the Dukeries area. Edwinstowe station was built far larger than it should have been, with refreshment rooms, and a brand new hotel, the Dukeries Hotel, in anticipation of a big tourist boom at Sherwood Forest and the stately homes nearby, this never really materialised.

The whole line from Chesterfield to Lincoln lost it passenger services in the 1950s, but proposals, if they come to fruition, will use part of it for the Robin Hood Line connection to Ollerton, the station buildings are still there at Warsop and Edwinstowe, but are used for different industries, the track in part is owned by Railtrack and is used for access to its Tuxford testing facilities.

The whole system was taken over by the Great Central company in the early 1900s and lots of it can still be seen today, part of Nottinghamshire’s very interesting and complicated railway history.

This page was added by Tony Clement on 12/01/2021.

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