Hull and Barnsley and Great Central Joint Railway

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The Hull and Barnsley and Great Central Joint Railway (also known as the Gowdall and Braithwell Railway[1]) was a joint line which ran from Aire Junction, on the main line of the Hull and Barnsley Railway, near Gowdall to the Great Central and Midland Joint Railway at Braithwell Junction.


Railway Clearing House diagram showing the Great Central, Hull & Barnsley, and Midland joint line (yellow)

The railway consisted of a double track main line (21.375 miles in length) which branched from the Hull and Barnsley railway at Aire junction near Gowdall[2]

The line crossed the Knottingley and Goole Canal (part of the Aire and Calder Navigation) via a rolling bascule lifting bridge.[note 1] The River Don was also crossed by a 122 ft (37 m) girder truss bridge with 106 ft (32 m) approach spans on either side.[2]

In addition to the main length of the line there were five branches:

The line had five passenger stations although never a passenger service. The stations were situated on the edge or between the villages in their titles, even Doncaster (York Road) was well north of the town, beyond the Avoiding Line.

Laughton to Ravenfield joint line[edit]

Known as the Great Central, Hull & Barnsley and Midland Joint Railway Committee

At the time of the construction of the South Yorkshire Joint Railway a joint line was authorised for the Great Central, Midland and Hull and Barnsley Railways to operate. This 4 mile line ran from Laugton (where it connected to the end of the Shireoaks, Laughton and Maltby Railway) to Ravenfield where it connected at Laugton West junction to the Great Central and Midland Railway's joint branch serving Silverwood Colliery. It connected to the Hull and Barnsley and Great Central Joint at Braithwell junction and opened in 1909.[3]


Former trackbed of the Hull and Barnsley and Great Central Joint Railway north of Thorpe in Balne

The line originally was to be worked by the Hull and Barnsley Railway and the Midland Railway; later in the planning stage the North Eastern Railway was offered running powers which resulted in the opposition of the Great Central. Eventually an act of parliament was passed in 1909 with the line as a joint H&BR and GC operation. The line opened on 1 May 1916.[4]

The first closure came in 1939 with the south curve at York Road but the first main line closure, that from Bullcroft Junction to Aire Junction, took place in October 1958, however about one mile of this track was reopened in December 1961 and extended to Thorpe Marsh Power Station. This arrangement lasted until September 1970 when a new connection was put in from the WR&GR. Also in September 1970 the lines from Bullcroft Colliery to Skellow and Bullcroft Junction to Doncaster Junction closed. Warmsworth to Sprotborough closed in February 1969 and Warmsworth to Braithwell in March 1969 although this line had not seen through traffic for over 20 years.

In later years the line was used for wagon storage. First in the Second World War the southern section was used for the storage of 'cripples' – wagons repairable but with no time and no facilities to do the work in the war. It continued after the war with the line south of Warmsworth Junction being unavailable for traffic.

The development of the coalfield north of Doncaster did not, at that time, materialise and traffic was always 'light'. It was not until the line had been closed that the Selby Coalfield came on stream.


  1. ^ The bridge was never operable – it could be made working if the Canal began to carry ships


  1. ^ *The North Eastern Railway, Cecil J. Allen, Ian Allan Ltd., 1964 (3rd edition 1974). History of the North Eastern Railway, Chapter XXI
  2. ^ a b c Railway Memories No.12 : The Hull and Barnsley Railway, Compiler: Stephen Chapman, Bellcode books, pp. 6–7, 66–71.
  3. ^ The Hull and Barnsley Railway, G.D. Parkes, Oakwood Press, p. 11.
  4. ^ The Hull and Barnsley Railway, G.D. Parkes, The Oakwood Press, pp. 11–12.


  • "Great Central" (Vol 3) (Fay sets the pace, 1900–1922), Ian Allan / Locomotive Pub. Co.,1965 ISBN 0-7110-0263-0
  • "Railways of the South Yorkshire Coalfield from 1880", A.L.Barnett, Rail Correspondence and Travel Society 1984. ISBN 0-901115-58-4