Station Name: BRIMINGTON

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 4.6.1892
Location: South side of Station Road (B6050)
Company on opening: Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway
Date closed to passengers: 2.1.1956
Date closed completely: 2.1.1956
Company on closing: British Railways (Eastern Region)
Present state: The timber up platform building survives in a run down industrial estate. Internally the building has been gutted and it is now split between two tenants. One part of the building is used as a workshop. The stationmaster's house is in private occupation within the industrial estate.
County: Derbyshire
OS Grid Ref: SK392736
Date of visit: 1.7.2008

Notes: Sheepbridge and Brimington Station opened to passengers on Saturday 4 June 1892 along with the majority of the Chesterfield branch, though portions of the Derbyshire lines had been opened earlier for goods. The opening to passengers had been delayed from Wednesday 1 June until the Saturday owing to the inspecting officer from the Board of Trade not being satisfied that work was sufficiently advanced at Staveley Works and Chesterfield stations the two stations either side of Sheepbridge & Brimington.

The station was a typical MS & LR station colmprising wooden buildings on both platforms and a goods yard, with shed, 10-ton crane, cattle docks and signal box with the stationmaster’s house alongside the approach road. On the approach road, almost immediately at the entrance off Station Road there was a weighbridge and office. Passing these, the yard opened out, with the stationmaster’s house to the west. Two cattle pens followed shortly, to the east. Sidings ran in from the main line into the yard. A large wooden goods warehouse, towards the end of the yard.

The station access veered from the approach road, just before the stationmaster’s house. There were wooden buildings on both the down and up platforms, though the latter was the main accommodation, complete with booking office. To the south of the main up building stood a smaller building. The platform buildings had gable-ended, glazed, ridge and furrow
These were cantilevered on a central row of columns, the platform ends having decorative valances. These, like some other Derbyshire line canopies, were bevelled off and partially re-roofed with asbestos corrugated sheets sometime after the grouping of railways in 1923. There were the usual toilets and waiting rooms. The up and down platform were linked by a lattice iron footbridge.

To the south end of the station, just off the up platform was the small wooden signal box, which would have controlled points and signalling into the goods yard and on the main line. There were crossovers just in front of the ‘box joining the up to down lines, connecting into the goods yard from the down line. There were a couple of head-shunts to the south of the up line to enable access into the goods yard, particularly from the down line. The station was renamed Brimington on 18th June 1951.

After WW2. It was clear that the local service had experienced years of being run-down. As motor bus services and car ownership grew, the need for a station, some-way from any real centre of population, diminished even further and the service was further reduced with nine daily trains in each direction on weekdays and no Sunday service. It was clear that the station's days were numbered.

In August 1955 BR wrote to Chesterfield Rural District Council stating that the "…small amount of traffic dealt with, including freight, passenger and parcels does not justify the expense involved…". BR intended to "…close the station except for the private sidings and the retention of the facilities for dealing with guaranteed excursions on and from a date to be decided." These
'guaranteed excursions’ were special trains run usually for interest groups such as working men’s clubs, Sunday Schools, etc. These could be run from closed stations, subject to the need and until the station in question became unsuitable. There is some oral evidence that such trains may have run from Brimington, but no documentary confirmation.

By now service then consisted of five weekday trains in each direction, with seven on Saturdays and no Sunday service. A census taken during the week ending 18 September 1954 lists an average 38 fare-paying passengers had joined trains each day, with 26 alighting. On the Saturday 18 had joined with 28 alighting. Railway employees accounted for a further 15 joining, and 14 alighting, per day, with 13 joining and 12 alighting on the Saturday.

The memorandum records that only about 434 tons of freight was forwarded from the station goods yard in 1954. This had consisted ‘mainly of occasional lots of old sleepers and scrap steel, whilst about 1317 tons were received there, comprising chiefly coal and old sleepers.’

There was no campaign to keep the station open. Newspaper coverage of the closure, such as it was, seemed to spark little or no reaction in Brimington . The parish council raised no objections to the proposal, as facilities would be retained for dealing with guaranteed excursions. They did, however, feel that there should be an "assurance that the platforms will be retained" which was agreed.

Closure was announced on and from Monday 2nd January 1956. As there were no Sunday services, this meant that the last service to leave Brimington Station would have been on the evening of Saturday 31st December 1955.

It is not known whom the ‘private sidings’ were intended for, but in any case annotations to the official mileage diagram for the Chesterfield loop in the National Archive indicate that all the station sidings and the signal box were abolished in March 1956. This included the connection to up and down lines between the platform. The platform awnings and the down side buildings were removed before July 1959.

Today the station site remains in a variety of uses. Mainly brieze-block built small industrial units have been built to the side of the old station approach road. The brick-built buffer stops to the former long siding, near where the cattle pens once stood, have been infilled, with a car-sales standing on their site. The remaining station buildings have been let to a number of
tenants, including a transport business. The large timber goods shed survived until November 2001, when it was accidentally burnt down. Source: Sheepbridge & Brimington Station and construction of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway through Brimington by Philip Cousins. Published in St. Michael & All Saints, Brimington parish magazine. (Click here for full text)

The Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MS & L) was formed in 1846 by the
amalgamation of the Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester Railway with two proposed
lines - the Sheffield and Lincolnshire Junction Railway and the Great Grimsby and Sheffield
Junction Railway; the SA & M had opened between Manchester and Sheffield Bridgehouses in
1845. The Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway ran between Manchester London Road
(now Piccadilly) via Penistone to Sheffield (the Woodhead route) and on to Brigg, Grimsby and Cleethorpes. A second line left the main line at Penistone and served Barnsley, Doncaster and Scunthorpe before rejoining the Grimsby line at Barnetby. The MS & LR opened a line from Sheffield Bridgehouses to Beighton for passengers on the 12th February 1849. Passengers going south and to London changed on to the ‘Midland’ line at Eckington. On 15th September 1851 a new station called Sheffield Victoria was opened a short distance to the south west of the Bridgehouses terminus which was retained as a goods depot.

In 1854, Edward Watkin became General Manager and then in 1864 chairman of the Company. Watkin's ambition was to build a rail link between the industrial heartland of Manchester and Sheffield, south to London and through a tunnel beneath the channel to reach Paris and the expanding markets of Continental Europe.

In order to fulfil his ambitions, Watkin also became Chairman of the Metropolitan Railway who were in the process of extending their line northwards towards Rickmansworth and the South Eastern Railway connecting London with Dover. Initially, Watkin tried to convince other companies to build links with the MS & L allowing him to reach London but he was unable
to reach agreement and eventually was left with little option than to build his own line southward from Sheffield to reach the Met

In the 1890's the MS&LR began construction of its 'Derbyshire Lines', in effect the first part of its push southwards. Leaving its east - west main line at Beighton Junction, some 5 1/2 miles east of Sheffield, the line headed south through the Nottingham coal field with a branch line serving its new Central Station in Chesterfield. In July 1890 the MS&LR obtained another act to extend from Chesterfield to Heath creating a loop line. Work started on this new section, of some 4¾ miles, before construction on the original line was finished and opened in July 1893.

In 1893 the MS&LR obtained Parliamentary approval to extend this line to London (known as the ‘London Extension’. Construction of the 92 mile route started in 1895 and on 1st August 1897 the company changed its name to the Great Central Railway; it was the last 'main line' to be built until the Channel Tunnel rail link in 2003.

Due to its late construction, the company was able to take advantage of the latest technology including steam excavators. It was heavily engineered with viaducts and wide cuttings with a maximum gradient of 1 in 128; there were no sharp curves or level crossings which would ensure a fast service for both passengers and freight. Most of the stations on the ‘London extension’ were built to a standard design consisting of an island platform with the booking office located on the platform. All the stations were built on an embankment or in a cutting adjacent to a road bridge, with access via stairs from the middle of the bridge; only the larger intermediate stations like Rugby and Loughborough had street level buildings.  Because Edward Watkin also expected his trains to reach Europe through a channel tunnel, the line was also built to a larger continental (Berne) loading gauge. The Great Central opened for coal traffic on 25 July 1898, for passenger traffic to a new terminus at Marylebone on 15 March 1899 and for general goods traffic on 11 April 1899.

The new line was built from Annesley in Nottinghamshire to join the existing Metropolitan Railway which had now reached Quainton Road in Buckinghamshire, where the line became joint Met/GCR owned (after 1903), it returned to GCR metals near Finchley Road for the final section into Marylebone. In 1903, new rails were laid parallel to
the Metropolitan Railway from Harrow to the junction north of Finchley Road, enabling more traffic to use Marylebone. Although the new line had now reached London, Edward Watkin was unable to fulfil his ambition as he was forced to retire through ill health.From the outset, the line had to compete with established north – south routes and the first train only carried a disappointing four passengers so the company had to work hard to win passengers from its rivals; with  a well managed Advertising campaign and the introduction of a fast and efficient train service the companies fortunes slowly improved although it was never a match for its rival lines.

In the 1923 grouping, the Great Central became part of the London & North Eastern Railway which brought an increase in freight traffic from the south Midlands and south west England but the LNER's main north - south route was into London Kings Cross so the Great Central was always considered as a secondary route.

After nationalisation, the line became part of British Railways Eastern Region but was transferred to the London Midland Region in 1958. By this time the service was already in decline with the increasing popularity of the car and it was unable to compete with other north - south routes as the line passed through sparsely populated areas south of Rugby. Manchester to London express services were withdrawn on 2nd January 1960 leaving only three semi-fast trains a day and it came as little surprise when the line became the first main line to close in the Beeching era. Beeching considered that the Great Central was a duplicate route which could be sacrificed in favour of the Midland main line.

Many of the intermediate stations, including the Chesterfield loop closed on 4th March 1963 and long distance freight services were withdrawn shortly afterwards.  Annesley Motive Power Depot (between Nottingham and Sheffield) closed on 3rd January 1966 and Nottingham Victoria closed on 5th September 1966 along with the remaining stations south of Rugby. The track was lifted between Rugby and Calvert leaving a diesel multiple unit (DMU) shuttle service operating between Rugby and Arkwright Street and the southern section of the line between Aylesbury and London Marylebone which still carried considerable commuter traffic. The northern section of the line between Sheffield Victoria and Woodhouse also remained open as this also formed part of the Sheffield to Lincoln line. The line north of Nottingham remained in use until May 1968 serving the collieries at Annesley and Newstead and was eventually lifted in October/November 1969.

In 1968 the London Railway Preservation Society chose Quainton Road as its new base, the society being renamed as the Quainton Railway Society; this has now developed into the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre covering 25 acres. The Centre boasts one of the largest private railway collections in the country with numerous steam locomotives, many housed in the former listed trainshed from Oxford Rewley Road which was dismantled and rebuilt at Quainton Road in 1999/2000.

The shuttle service between Nottingham and Rugby lasted until 3rd May 1969. As closure approached a group of railway enthusiasts got together to discuss the possibility of buying a section of the track to operate preserved steam locomotives.  A steam service was reinstated between Loughborough and Quorn in 1973 and in 1976 Charnwood Borough Council agreed to purchase the land from BR and lease it to the railway for 99 years. Despite a shaky start, the Great Central Railway PLC are now operating throughout the year between their headquarters at Loughborough Central and a new station called Leicester North just inside the city boundary. The remaining track between Leicester - Rugby was lifted in early 1970.

North of Loughborough, the line remained open for freight traffic after closure to passengers in 1969 serving the gypsum mine at East Leake and the Ruddington Ordnance Storage and Disposal Depot south of Nottingham. This traffic ceased in the 1980's and the track north of Loughborough was mothballed by BR until 2000. In the early 1990's a group of
transport enthusiasts set up the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) Ltd with the aim of redeveloping the derelict Ruddington Ordnance depot as part of a country park project. The depot was turned into the Nottingham Transport Heritage Centre (NTHC) and trains were run on a small length of line into the depot.

The NTHC's aim was to reinstate the remaining line into Loughborough where it joins the GCR
PLC thus forming a single 18 mile preserved line. In the 1990's NTHC obtained a loan to buy
the track from Railtrack. Gypsum traffic resumed in 2000 with up to two daily trains and revenue from British Gypsum is used to pay off the loan. Rushcliffe Halt has now been restored and in 2003 regular services were reinstated although passenger trains south of Rushcliffe Halt are limited to the second Sunday of each month as there is no station at Loughborough.

It is now both groups aim to reinstate two bridges, one over the Midland main line north of Loughborough, rebuild 300 yards of embankment and relay little more than a quarter of a mile of track. As well a 'bridging the gap' between the two preserved lines further long term proposals would see the line extended southwards to Leicester Abbey and northwards from Ruddington to join up with the Nottingham tram network and on to Nottingham city centre.

Sheffield Victoria closed on 5th January 1970 with the closure of the Woodhead route and trains from Lincoln were diverted into Sheffield Midland. Although the southern section of the main line remained open, it too was proposed for partial closure in 1986. Aylesbury was to remain open but all services would run into Paddington via Princes Risborough. Marylebone Station was due to close on 12th May 1986 but the station was eventually reprieved and the closure proposals were rescinded. Following rail privatisation in the 1990's, Chiltern Railways took over the route and in 2006 two new platforms were built at Marylebone on the site of the old daytime carriage sidings. The new platforms and partial resignalling of the station throat now make it possible to run 20 trains per hour in and out of the station.

North of Aylesbury the track remains in place but is only used by waste freight trains to the landfill site at Calvert where a junction with the Oxford - Cambridge line remains in use. On selected days, usually bank holidays, special passenger services run to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre at Quainton Road station. There are now proposals to extend the passenger services northwards to a new station called Aylesbury Vale Parkway at the point where the line crosses the A41 near Berryfields Farm. This area is to be known as the Berryfields Major Development Area and will include park and ride facilities for Aylesbury.

With our motorway network now working at capacity there have been a number of proposals to reopen other sections of the Great Central main line and in 2006 Central Railway was formed to look into the feasibility of building a new rail link from central England to the Channel Tunnel which would include rebuilding part of the Great Central route south of Rugby reviving a 1990’s government proposal to reopen that section of the line as part of a fast rail link from Scotland to the Channel Tunnel.

Preservation group web sites: The Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, The Great Central Railway (steam service between Loughborough and Leicester North) & Nottingham Transport Heritage Centre (steam service between Ruddington and Loughborough)

Selected other web sites: The Transport Archive contains further detailed history of the Great Central plus a vast collection of 2344 'on line' photographs many ( the Newton Collection) taken during the construction of the London Extension. Chris Ward's Annesley Web site featuring numerous photographs of the Great Central around Nottingham and the Annesley Motive Power Depot. Great Central Railway through Leicester. Nigel Tout's web site with numerous photographs of the Great Central remains around Leicester and a series of archive photographs of the line. Bridging the Gap details ongoing work to reinstate the link between the two preserved lines. The Great Central Railway Society promotes an historical interest in the Great Central Railway.

Selected further reading: Great Central Memories by John MC Healey published 1987 by Baton Transport ISBN 0 85936 193 4 - heavily illustrated history of the London Extension. Great Central Then and Now by Mac Hawkins - published (2nd edition) by BCA 1992 ISBN 0 7153 9326 X , station by station photographic survey of the Great Central between Sheffield and London with numerous 'then and now' photographs. See also Sheepbridge & Brimington Station and construction of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway through Brimington by Philip Cousins. Published in St. Michael & All Saints, Brimington parish magazine. (Click here for full text). Tickets from Michael Stewart & Glynn Waite. Route map drawn by Alan Young.

Too see other stations on the Great Central Railway between Sheffield Victoria and Aylesbury click on the station name. Aylesbury*, Waddesdon, Quainton Road (1st site), Quainton Road (2nd site)**, Calvert, Finmere, Brackley Central, Helmdon, Culworth, Woodford Halse, Charwelton, Braunston & Willoughby, Rugby Central, Lutterworth, Ashby Magna, Whetstone, Leicester Central, Leicester North***, Belgrave & Birstall, Rothley**, ****Swithland, Quorn & Woodhouse**, Loughborough Central**, East Leake, Rushcliffe Halt**, Ruddington, Ruddington Factory Halt, Arkwright Street, Nottingham Victoria, Carrington, New Basford, Bulwell Common, Bulwell Hall Halt, Hucknall Central, Annesley South Junction Halt, Hollinwell & Annesley, Kirkby Bentinck, Tibshelf Town, Pilsley, Heath, Staveley Central, Renishaw Central, Killamarsh Central, Beighton 1st site, Beighton 2nd site, Woodhouse*, Darnall*, Sheffield Victoria & Sheffield Bridgehouses. Chesterfield loop - Staveley Works, Chesterfield Central & Grassmoor

* Station still open but included for completeness ** Station reopened by Great Central steam railway and Nottingham Transport Heritage Centre *** New station opened by Great Central steam railway ****Station planned and partially built but not opened

Sheepbridge & Brimington Station looking south in c.1940's
photo from John Mann collection

Brimington Station looking south in 1957

Brimington Station looking south in the late 1960's shortly after track lifting
Copyright photo from Stations UK

The 'up' platform station building and goods shed in August 1996
hoto by Martin Potter

The 'up' platform station building in July 2008
hoto by Nick Catford




[Source: Nick Catford]

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