The station was built by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (M.S.& L.R.) with two platforms flanking the main lines. The main station building, on the Cleethorpes-bound side, contained the usual facilities, and was situated at the top of Station Road; a waiting shelter on the Sheffield-bound platform gave passengers some comfort. Widening took place in the area just prior to World War I and two "goods" lines were laid around the back of the platforms. This was to increase capacity of the line and aid the movement of coal traffic towards Immingham Docks, opened in 1912. This work required the removal of Darnall tunnel about 0.75 miles (1.2 km) to the east of the station. The tracks through Darnall were electrified from 1955 to 1981, though only to allow electrically-hauled goods trains to reach Rotherwood Yard.
The station itself was rebuilt in 1928 to an island platform design, much favoured by the Great Central, which the M.S.& L.R. had become on the opening of its extension to London (Marylebone) in 1899. In this redesign the tracks in the centre of the layout, the "Down Main" (in the direction of Sheffield) and the "Up Goods" (in the direction of Cleethorpes) became the "Up" and "Down" main lines and served the platform faces; the original "Up Main" (in the direction of Cleethorpes) and the "Down Goods" (in the direction of Sheffield) became the "Up Goods" and "Down Goods" respectively.
Darnall was one of the first stations in the area to be destaffed since tickets are now sold on board. The station is a shadow of its former self, with just a simple waiting shelter on its platform. Passenger numbers are low and rumours of closure regularly circulate.