Kiveton & Wales Heritage

Kiveton & Wales Heritage

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The Waleswood Curve and Waleswood Station

By 1888, traffic, particularly of the coal variety, had increased so significantly that bottlenecks were created in the local network and Woodhouse Junction and its adjacent freight yard was a prime example. Situated at the intersection of the Sheffield to Lincoln line and the Sheffield to Annesley (north of Nottingham) route with its access to the Midland Railway at Beighton, problems were greatly accentuated by some trains needing to reverse at Woodhouse. Traffic from the Lincoln direction needing to head south had to perform the time-consuming task of running into the goods yard and their moving the locomotive from the front to the rear of the train and vice versa with the brake van. A protracted event that took up roads in an already busy sidings and held up traffic on what was often a busy main line. And this was only 50% of the problem, for the situation was exactly the same for trains coming up fro the south and needing to head east.

Looking ahead, plans were already in the pipeline to extend the Annesley line 135 miles south to reach the M.S. and L.’s ultimate goal, a terminus in London. Thus, sorting out the predicaments at such places as Woodhouse Junction needed to be done sooner rather than later. A solution was sought and eventually arrived at in the form of what came to be known as the Waleswood Curve. One and three quarter miles in length, it was a connecting line of double track running from a point alongside the road-bridge at Waleswood to link up with Annesley line just north of Killamarsh station. The route had two engineering features of significance, a 66 yard stone lined tunnel which conveyed the line beneath the hillside over which Delves Lane passes and a shott viaduct which carried the railway over the River Rother.

Laid on a falling gradient from Waleswood to just short of Killamarsh Junction the line opened to freight on July 17th 1893 and was passed for passenger work in January 1894.

On September 4th 1884 the M.S. and L. board turned down a request from Skinner and Holford, owners of Waleswood Colliery for a station adjacent to the pit. The request came on an almost annual basis before the board of the, by then, Great Central Railway. The ‘Worksop Guardian’ announced on May 23rd 1905 that the G.C.R. would open a station at Waleswood, unfortunately the article went on, the plans have been lost.

It was of couple of years later before the Retford Times of July 5th 1907 described the official opening of the station which took place four days earlier: ‘Flags flying, well equipped, commodious, excellent train service, the creation of the all timber station was due to the efforts of J. H. Ashton - Managing Director of the adjacent colliery.’ By this era, Wales was a rapidly growing village of 100 houses. Other literature stated that the station was opened due to public demand. The construction was carried out by Roper and Sons of Sheffield for the modest sum of £2,447.

Fire destroyed the interior of the station booking hall on May 24th 1953 causing £2,000 of damage. The fire raged so fiercely that traffic was delayed for some time. Waleswood station closed to passengers on the 7th of March 1955, the writing on the wall having been there since the adjacent colliery ceased production in May 1948. The Waleswood Curve in the making.

For 50 years the Waleswood Curve proved to be a valuable asset in reducing the need for trains to pass through the busy bottleneck at Woodhouse Junction, but by the 1950s the gradual decline in rail traffic meant that its days were numbered. Scheduled passenger services ceased in July 1961 when the only remaining service using the Curve – the Saturdays only July 1st – August 26th, 7.36am Chesterfield Central to Skegness and the 1.47 return, were withdrawn. By now only the occasional freight traversed the curve, although one particularly long-standing service survived almost to the end. This was the New Cleethorpes – Banbury ‘Whitland Fish’ – an express vacuum-fitted freight which was always worked by one of Immingham sheds’ top locomotives and, for obvious reasons, was always given priority right of way. Standing on the stations at Kiveton and Waleswood one did not need to see inside its vans to know what the contents were: the lingering aroma that pervaded its wakes left you in no doubt.

By the mid 1960s, the Waleswood Curve was seeing so little use that closure was now inevitable and the route was officially withdrawn on January 8th 1967 with the track being lifted in April of the following year.

 

 

 

Engineers working on a 2,200lb unexploded   bomb found near the viaduct on the     Waleswood Curve. The bomb was   detonated on Saturday November 27th   1977 at approximately 1645 hours.

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