Report - - clowne and balborough railway | Other Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - clowne and balborough railway


28DL Full Member
im sure i read some kind of report on this line on 28dl but it seemed a bit sketchy so i would like to do the whole thing in a bit more detail and explored further down the line near to where it ends.


clowne and balborough station was built by the midland railway in 1872 the 5.75 mile branch line was a single track affair the line left what is now the robin hood line at elmton junction cresswell to seymour junction on the doe lea line and had a long curving platform in typical midland country style the station was original called clown the e being added later in the 20th century the midland station and the lancashire,derbishire and east coast railway ( LD&ER) later becoming the great central.s stations were next door to each other both lines running paralell into clowne the LD&ER being named clowne south which ran through the rother valley and spinkhill tunnel to killamarsh and sheffield.
the midland line was completed in 1872 but not opened throughout untill 1875 and then only to freight from balborough colliery later serving 2 further collieries at southgate and oxcroft passenger services commenced with 3 trains a day calling at elmton and cresswell ,clown,netherthorpe,staveley and whittington to chesterfield
this increased to 5 trains daily in 1922 this was reduced to one schools train in 1952 withdrawn in 1954 the stations goods facilities which were once connected to the LD&ER closed in 1960 leaving clown now spelt clowne as a summer saturday football and excursion line the last being a radford to blackpool north excursion in 1962 the last steam train over the line being a non stop special in 1965.

Freight was always the line's primary purpose. Barlborough Colliery ceased production in 1921 and Southgate followed in 1929 Oxcroft Colliery at Stanfree, survived until 27 February 1976 After it closed its facilities for loading coal onto trains were retained and developed as the "Oxcroft Disposal Point for opencasted coal The site had something of a Red Letter Day Class 58 locomotive 58 044 was ceremonially named Oxcroft Opencast.

The site continued in railway use until Spring 2006, latterly to load coal open casted from Arkwright colliery and brought to Oxcroft This coal came off the short Oxcroft Branch at Oxcroft Colliery Branch Junction and traversed the Clowne branch for less than a mile to Seymour Junction heading west The track and loading equipment at Oxcroft DP was protected for some time, but by 20 July 2013 the track had been lifted and all structures had been demolished though no attempt had been made to landscape the site or remove roadways.

light engine movements to and from Shirebrook Diesel Depot became the sole regular through traffic, supplemented by occasional freights and power station coal diversions This continued until the 1990s when an underground fire threatened to undermine the line, compounded by the expensive need to replace the points at Creswell Junction. These points were replaced by plain line, as were those at Oxcroft Colliery Junction in July 2013 the track between Oxcroft and Creswell had been lifted followed by the line through clowne.

in 2016, the line was purchased from Network Rail by Derbyshire County Council for future development into a Greenway for Walkers, Cyclists and Horse Riders.
Planning permission was granted in October 2017 for Derbyshire County Council to develop the disused railway to full "Greenway" standard and connect the Eastern end into an access point through a development near to Creswell station , while the Western end is now connected to the Northern part of the MEGZ (Markham Employment Growth Zone) Development and onward into Poolsbrook Country Park. Funding to undertake the physical works is still being sought but as an interim measure local volunteers keep the line passable by walkers and cyclists by regularly clearing overgrowth and picking litter. A condition of the planning application protects the interests of HS2, who have an intention to use the most westerly section of the line as access from the main HS2 line to a maintenance depot proposed at Staveley. It is hoped that an alternative route for the greenway would be constructed if this proposal progresses.

the visit

this was first on my to do list so after parking the car on the construction site a sign warning me that plant was operating although i didnt see any i could see what they had left behind walked down the claggy trackbed and on towards clowne and balborough railway station about 50 yards beyond.

the overbridge over the main road looks a bit like a tunnel this was festooned with support scaffolding as the the bridge still comes under the auspices of network rail who are responsible for its maintainance beyond the bridges the line enters a deep cutting heading towards seymore jcn and was a bit claggy due to plant using it to get about mind you i dont think the constant rain helped matters either although i spotted some discarded railway sleepers piled up at the side of the cutting and some in the trackbed although shorn of their metal parts reminded you of clownes railway past.

the cresswell end also warranted some investigation so getting back into my car i drove the slightly longer way home via cresswell stopping to take pictures at hazlemere road bridge and see if i could gain the trackbed without having to do a batman job up the side of the bridge or tromp across a field and upset some angry farmer both of these came to naught so its back into the car and head for cresswell untill i spotted a very promising blue bell walk the trackbed running behind the houses
a little further driving brought me to markland sports facility car park so parking the car and tromping across the sports field with a bit of huffing and puffing up the slope (must cut out the fags) finally found a way on to the trackbed a bit over grown and rubbish strewn.

dog walkers now pass behind the houses where trains once rumbled by with some further examples of sleepers still buried in the trackbed the path turns right into a ginnel between the houses and with fierce impassable undergrowth in front of me i thought i,d reached the end of the line so to speak yet my curiosity wanted to see more so a gap on the left which led down to a farmers field ..a bit naughty i know ...enabled me with a bit of carefull walking in the side duck around this impass and i was faced the usual network rail security fencing huffing up the bank once more sounding like a steam engine gained the top of the embankment and looked through the fence towards elmton jcn a short distance away and was surprised to find a short length of the original track in the undergrowth the fence built over it beyond the fence the track still heads towards elmton jcn but is overgrown and is severed where it once joined the robin hood line.

retracing my steps missing the way i had gone down requiring a further short carefull tromp down the side of the farmers field as a freight train passed the permently pulled off signal at cresswell roadbridge in the distance on the robin hood line.


parking up and on to the trackbed station road overbridge is the first bridge you encounter with the main bridge behind clownes platform was on the left

looking the other way towards cresswell and elmton jcn

clowne main st bridge recieving maintaiance

a closer look shows it reinforced with old rails

beyond the bridge you can see the cutting sorry about the crap pics bad light in there

the cutting looking towards seymore jcn deffo need to do the rest

with dug out sleepers

and some still in

looking towards elmton jcn from station road overbridge the former curved platform was on the right under the undergrowth

an old hording post still exists behind the fencing midland or modern...ish ?

moving on to cresswell hazelmere road overbridge definately impossible to climb

complete with its network rail sign... bac means that network rail are still responsible for its up keep

looking back towards hazelmere rd sleepers are still buried in the trackbed

looking towards elmton jcn dog walkers now pass instead of trains

untill it turns sharp right

untill it disapears down a ginnel

the trackbed gets a bit fierce here

more sleepers hide in the undergrowth making it a bit slippy underfoot

end of the line ?

i should neddy..... here we go again with the climbing bit ...a NR security fence

a length of track still exists in the undergrowth

as the tracks continue to elmton junction

to be further hidden by wild undergrowth

but the view across the field is nice...the permently pulled of elmton outer home peg on the right just beyond the next explore that day.

Last edited: