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Local Railways

It is hard to imagine that three separate Railway companies could have developed in such a relatively small locality such as ours.

To understand how the railways developed, their association with the construction of the reservoirs and the development of the Steelworks, it is worth reading this article titled In the Sheffield Hills by Harold B. Bowtell.

One of the three, the Stocksbridge Railway Company is still in existence moving materials to and goods from within the local Steelworks.

In the late nineteenth century the Main Line railway ran from Sheffield, through Deepcar to Penistone and on through the Woodhead Tunnel which was opened in December of 1845, then on to the city of Manchester.

The line was named the Sheffield Ashton-under-Lyne & Manchester Railway which became an integral part of the Manchester Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway, and which later changed its name to the Great Central Railway before becoming a component of the LNER.

Brief details about the history of this company can be accessed via the following articles which were published in the "Paragon" newsletters in 1995 and 1996.

Manchester Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway Part 1

Manchester Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway Part 2

These two sets of photographs show Stations in the Stocksbridge area, the Sheffield area, the Barnsley area and other areas close to Stocksbridge.

Here are some photographs of train accidents, the Penistone viaduct collapse of the 2nd of February 1916 and others relating to local railways.


Ewden Railway Company

In 1913 the Sheffield Corporation started work in the Ewden Valley on the construction of the Broomhead and Morehall reservoirs.

As a consequence of the need to move construction materials to the site and take spoil away, the Ewden Railway Company was formed.

The rail connection to the "Ewden Sidings" started close to the Wharncliffe Wood signal box with a spur off the main line into a long curve and a 1 in 26 down slope.

After crossing the River Don and then the Sheffield to Manchester road, using bridges of girder construction, the track then ran along the valley and into the sidings.

Here we have for viewing a Map of the Ewden valley railway and its connection to the main line network.

There was a platform within the sidings such that coaches could be attached, thus allowing for the transportation of people to the main road, where they could catch a bus to Stocksbridge or Sheffield.

In the early 1920's a special train comprising of four Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire coaches, loaded up at the platform for a special day trip to Cleethorpes.

The work on the Ewden reservoirs was completed in 1929, after a suspension of operations due to World War I, bringing to an end the railway era in this beautiful valley.


Stocksbridge Railway Company

The rapid development of the Stocksbridge Works required a more efficient means of transport of the raw materials to the works, and of the finished products to the nearby Deepcar Station.

The Stocksbridge Railway Act of 1874 provided for the construction of a standard gauge rail link between Deepcar Station and the village of Stocksbridge, the railway was opened for traffic on the 14th of April 1877.

The original rolling stock comprised of one steam locomotive, 76 waggons and one brake van.

The route started at the Deepcar Station with a branch line off the main track, which turned westerly in to a cutting, before entering the exchange sidings.

The track continued over a viaduct spanning the River Don

and then over another viaduct spanning the Wortley Road, and on towards Ellen Cliff.

It then continued on to the Henholmes, along the river bank crossing further bridges at Wood Willows, passing the Cold Rolled Strip department and under a short tunnel at Smithy Hill, finally terminating at the Loco Sheds located near Horner House.

The carriage of passengers was discontinued in 1931, when road vehicles became the preferred means of transport.

The Stocksbridge Railway Company celebrated its Centenary in 1977.

This article The Stocksbridge Railway Company gives an early account of the development of the company.

In 1922 Joseph Sheldon published his book titled "The Founders and Builders of Stocksbridge Works" in the book he makes the following statements about the Stocksbridge Railway.

"The railway from Deepcar to Stocksbridge, known as the Stocksbridge Railway, was at first a seperate company but later was taken over by Samuel Fox & Co. and opened on St. Valentines's Day April 14th, 1877.

Mr. Fred Fowler, brother to Sir John Fowler who designed the Fourth Bridge, was engineer for the railway. His nephew, of the firm of Fowler and Marshall, had much to do with the construction of the line, and a member of the firm was usually in attendance. Whenever schemes of importance were undertaken, this firm was consulted.

Mr. Ayrton of the above firm has for many years been well known in Stocksbridge in connection with surveying.

Mr. Rigby was contractor for the building of the line and the Dawsons took a prominent part in its construction.

When the line was considered practically complete, officials of the Board of Trade came to inspect, but did not pass it until much additional work had been done at the Deepcar end.

This extra work and the delay it caused was a great source of trouble to Mr. Fox, but when at last it was completed and used, there was much rejoicing in the district.

The first locomotive driver on the railway was Mr. Rodgers who came from the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincoln Railway.

Other who followed him were Mr. Leather, John Whittaker, John and Walter Herbert, Ben Drabble and J. Bailey.

Alfred Hinchcliffe held the first position as shunter and porter and he was a faithful servant and highly respected.

In this connection William Armitage did excelent work for many years as did Tom Oates, Joe Walker, A. Whittaker, Sunter, Roebuck and others.

These men frequently had to work under rough and dangerous conditions.

John Long was the first plate-layer, and he was followed by his son William who, like his father, knew his work.

For a short time John Long junior held his father's position, then came Mr. Rothwell, Oxley, and later Mr. Coney the present foreman plate-layer.

A. Firth, G. Hinchcliffe, E Crossland with others have also served as plate-layers on the Works railway".

Details of the locomotives, rolling stock and other details about the Stocksbridge railway over the years can be found using the following links.

Built 1877 still shunting strong.

Notice of increased rates

Locomotive information

Locomotive firebox information

Coaches information

Samuel Fox Company Letter

Silver Fox Locomotive

SRC Newspaper article

Thes two sets of photographs show equipment and activities relating to the Stocksbridge Railway Company.


Langsett Railway Company

The only standard gauge locomotive on the site was a six wheeler, saddle tank named "Langsett", the locomotive was built by Manning Wardle & Company Limited of Leeds for the Sheffield Corporation, and was later acquired by the Samuel Fox & Company Limited Traffic Department, and was used for shunting duties within the steelworks.

Alongside the standard gauge system at Langsett, there was a narrow gauge track to the embankment face workings.

The following photographs show a narrow Gauge "Coffee Pot" style locomotive with vertical boiler, named the Don, a photograph of a narrow gauge steam driven crane is also included.

To utilise this 3ft 0ins system an engine named the Little Don, being a Peckett 0-4-0 was purchased.

Before we steam away, you might just wish to explore the following documentation relating to these and other local railway activities.

Steam in the blood

Thurgoland Tunnels


Signal Box fire at Deepcar

Sale of Deepcar Station

Rails in the Don valley




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