24th February 2020 · ‘The Dukeries Route’

Presenter: Chris Booth

We eventually had a superb presentation by professional railwayman, Chris Booth on ‘The Dukeries Route’ – LD and EC Rly, covering completed route and branches. An author of two books on the subject, Chris illustrated the development and history of the route which failed to leave the ‘Dukeries’ and reached neither Lancashire nor the East Coast! Built to connect coalfields in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire with Warrington and Sutton-on-Sea with financial help by the GER, it managed to open between Chesterfield and Lincoln with a branch towards Sheffield from 1896. Hopes of reaching the Lincolnshire coast were never fulfilled and it agreed a merger with the GCR and was absorbed in 1907.

Between 1939 and 1955 the passenger service was curtailed but most collieries continued to be productive until the final decade of the 20th Century. The company had 37 locomotives divided into four Classes, A, B, C and D, all tank engines and all built by Kitson of Leeds, only two of which survived into BR days, both Class B.

We were shown many historical photos of Chesterfield Market Place, Tuxford, Langwith Junction, Pyewipe, Creswell et al and a picture of Ollerton Station in 1906 with a Small Atlantic on a Doncaster Races Special for King Edward VII. We saw signal boxes, posed staff photos, derailments, Duke of Rutland’s Private Siding and nothing was missed!

We concluded an excellent show at the Network Rail High Marnham Test Track created in 2009 on a 17km stretch of the LD & EC running between Thoresby Colliery Jct and High Marnham Power Station.

A thoroughly recommended presentation..