The first of the two local railways to be constructed in the Bolsover area was the Midland railway or originally a branch line construct from Bolsover colliery station to Glapwell colliery station which was completed about 1884. (It later linked up to Pleasley and other collieries via the Rowthorne Tunnel).
The Doe Lea Branch line extension was started in 1884 and completed by Autumn 1890 when in September that year the single line was open to passengers. In June 1892 five hundred miners and their wives and families left Glapwell station at 2am and travelled to Llandudno, returning at midnight.
This line also carried men into the local collieries by Paddy Mail, the train was laid on by the colliery owners and the railway company to provide transport to and from work at the collieries. The carriages were crude and worn out, they had bench seats, windows missing or were just empty coal wagons for the miners to ride in 'The Paddy Mail' was provided because it was illegal for work men, in the days before pit head baths, to frequent ordinary railway carriages in their 'dirt' (working clothes), and the men if caught were liable to be prosecuted by the railway company. The main runs for the trains were from Chesterfield to the Staveley collieries and iron works, Dronfield to the Grassmoor collieries and coke works and Staveley to Glapwell colliery. Coal from this colliery and Langwith colliery were exported worldwide by the railway companies with the coal being shipped both locally and to and then from the extensive coal handling facilities of the Humber ports.
By the 1920's the tunnel at Rowthorne was suffering badly with subsidence and so the line from Pleasley west junction to Glapwell Midland was closed. (28th July1930).
Glapwell colliery to Glapwell Midland track removed 30th April 1959.
Mansfield to Glapwell Parcel Way Bill & Station Plan. Glynn Waite.
Also newspaper cuttings & photographs etc. Many Thanks Glynn.
SOME NOTES ON THE DOE LEA LINE by Glynn Waite.
The Doe Lea Branch was opened to mineral traffic in August 1866 and to goods on 10th November 1884, when the line was extended to Glapwell Colliery.
The original terminus of the Doe Lea Branch is shown as 1m 28ch from Seymour Junction, which would have been part way between the latter-day Markham Colliery Sidings and Bolsover (see extract from distance diagram, with lines of other companies removed and gradient profile, which also refers to the three “Doe Lea sections”).
I cannot say where Glapwell 1st station was situated, but note that Gough shows that this dealt with goods traffic only and has a query against the date (10th November 1884). My gut feeling is that it was adjacent to the colliery and that it was initially used in connection with the movement of traffic to and from the colliery – which was still being developed at that time. Note that he also shows this as closing four weeks after the line was extended to Pleasley Colliery West Junction (29th September 1890), again with a question mark. This indicates that it was not really used by the general public.
The next development was the introduction of workmen’s services from Staveley to Glapwell Colliery on 1st September 1886. I am not sure of the actual location at Glapwell, but it would appear that there was a platform within the colliery complex. Tickets were just shown as to Glapwell – i.e. without mention of the word Colliery. However, there was no real need to include this as there were no passenger services at this time – though it is perhaps surprising that when such services were introduced the original format, without the word Colliery, continued to be used.
Not included in John Gough’s chronology, but gleaned from WTTs, is the introduction from 1st October 1888 of a daily mineral service in each direction which called at Bolsover and Sutton & Palterton (note opposite format from that used when passenger services introduced).
The line from Glapwell Junction** to Pleasley Colliery West Junction was opened on 1st September 1890, and a limited passenger service introduced between Chesterfield / Staveley and Mansfield. Intermediate stations were situated at Netherthorpe (opened 1st November 1888 in conjunction with the Clown Branch – later renamed Staveley Town), Bolsover, Palterton & Sutton, and Rowthorn & Hardwick. [** this was actually Glapwell Colliery Junction – see distance diagram; Gough’s reference to “end of Doe Lea branch to new junction at Glapwell” really relates to the fact that passenger services were introduced over that section of line on 1st September 1890. The new junction – Glapwell Colliery Junction – was actually short of the end of the line opened for goods traffic in 1884 and his reference to Glapwell in that entry should really have been Glapwell Colliery.]
A passenger station at Glapwell subsequently opened on 22nd August 1892. Gough shows that the opening was for passenger and mineral. The passenger station was a single platform on a single line. There were no sidings leading from the single line in the station area, so I can only assume that the mineral facility was located within the colliery complex, possibly as a land sales location.
Only odd mineral / goods trains passed over the route from Glapwell Colliery Junction to Pleasley Colliery West Junction as the ruling gradient from Glapwell to just beyond the southern end of Rowthorn Tunnel was 1 in 50. Consequently, when passenger services were withdrawn on 28th July 1930, it was possible to close the line completely – albeit that a section at the Pleasley end was used for a short while for storing empty wagons.
So far as the Paddy Mails are concerned, there were services from Dronfield / Chesterfield to Glapwell as well as to Grassmoor.
Derbyshire Times. (Transcribed by Mr. & Mrs. Jackson).
8th October 1887.
On Tuesday morning a sad accident occurred on the Midland Railway branch line at the Glapwell Colliery belonging to the Sheepbridge Coal & Iron Co. A Midland Railway Company’s engine was engaged in shunting operations when an office boy at the colliery named Edward Turner 18 years of age attempted to cross the line just in front of the locomotive he was knocked down and ran over by the engine being fearfully mangled. He was at once removed to the Chesterfield Hospital but he died from his injuries shortly before 11.00 a.m. about three hours after the accident. Enoch Turner a miner of Doe Lea in the Parish of Ault Hucknall identified the body of that of his son.
22nd March 1890.
With reference to the recent railway accident at Glapwell we are informed by the Midland Railway Company that they have come to terms with the miners who were in the accident. The Company have agreed to pay all the men a days wage and substantial compensation to those that were injured.
12th July 1890.
Legal proceedings in the case of Frederick Hart v Midland Railway Company.
The plaintiff who is a miner claimed damages for injuries sustained by him in the accident of a workmen’s train at Glapwell on 14th January last. Hart was in the centre carriage, which took the worst of the collision. A large number of miners were injured more or less severely and most of the claims had been dealt with. That in which Hart figured was one of the few outstanding. The Company would pay the plaintiff £75 plus costs.
Glapwell station photograph which shows a set of Paddy Mail coaches in the sidings. Copyright Glynn Waite.
Last four photographs:
Taken in 2001 but remains very much unchanged.
Station site today looking towards the main road.
Looking to where the track ran under the main road towards the Rowthorne tunnel cutting.
Looking towards the station site.
Looking towards Bolsover and Glapwell Colliery sidings off to the left.
15/06/1975 M.A. King.
July 1888. Glynn Waite.