Sheffield and Rotherham Railway - Operation


The North Midland Railway opened in 1840, crossing the S&R near Masborough. A branch was built to link the railway to the North Midland in a northerly direction from Sheffield at Rotherham Masborough station. A path to the South was installed in 1869.

On 7 August 1839 the railway opened a branch from its main line at Holmes to the head of the Greasbrough Canal, where it connected with the colliery wagonways of Earl Fitzwilliam. The facilities at Greasbrough were rather primitive and were felt to be the cause for poor results on coal traffic operations. At a meeting of shareholders on 15 February 1840, were discussed arrangements for working after the North Midland Railway opened later in the year. It was hoped that traffic would increase and so the decision to build a booking office at Wicker station as well as a locomotive depot was taken. The decision to allow NMR stock to work throughout the S&R was taken in April 1840, avoiding the need to change train at Masborough.

The line from Leeds opened on 1 July 1840 and a corresponding service with trains form Sheffield was established. The first train from Leeds was scheduled to arrive at Rotherham Masborough 0945 but the train from Sheffield saw no sign of the Leeds train. Having left at 0800, it arrived at 1030 due to weather conditions. The Sheffield portion of the train was attached at the back of the Leeds train and it then progressed South. The train arrived in Derby at 1315. Popular railway travel for citizens of Sheffield arrived on Monday 28 September 1840 when the NMR ran a half-price excursion to Leeds. On the first day this operation, 61 carriages were pulled by 5 locomotives.

NMR fares from Derby to Sheffield were 11 shillings (55 p) first class and 7 s (35 p) second class. The S&R dispensed with second class altogether. Locomotive Sheffield was chosen to pull one carriage on the full line. It departed on 11 April and was expected to arrive in Birmingham on 13 April. The train's only passengers were Mr and Mrs Vickers who were joined by George Stephenson and Michael Longridge in Derby. The London & Birmingham Railway obviously had a great sense of humour as they fined the Sheffield & Rotherham £10 for running over L&B lines without a fourteen day notice.

Nevertheless, as Whishaw put it: Before the introduction of railways, a journey from London to this place was attended with considerable fatigue, and occupied the best part of twenty-four hours; whereas, by the united efforts of four private companies, Sheffield is now within little more than an eight hours' easy drive of the metropolis.

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