Sheffield–Lincoln line

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Sheffield–Lincoln line
Kiveton Bridge railway station.jpg
Kiveton Bridge station
Type Heavy rail
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale East Midlands
Yorkshire and the Humber
Termini Sheffield
Lincoln (main line), Cleethorpes (Brigg Branch Route)
Stations 11 (main Line), 20 (Brigg branch route)
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) Northern
East Midlands Trains
Rolling stock Class 142 "Pacer"
Class 144 "Pacer"
Class 153 "Sprinter"
Class 158 "express sprinter"
Number of tracks Two (One on sections on Brigg branch)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification No
Operating speed 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) (Max.)
Sheffield to Lincoln Line
Midland Main Line,
Hallam Line & Penistone Line
Sheffield Supertram (Sheffield)
Stocksbridge Line
to Wortley
Dearne Valley line
to Rotherham Central
Midland Main Line
to Swinton & Chesterfield
Kiveton Bridge
Kiveton Park
South Yorkshire Joint Railway
to Doncaster
Robin Hood Line
to Sutton Parkway
Worksop sidings
Retford link loop
High Level
Low Level
East Coast Main Line
to Newark North Gate│to Doncaster
Clarborough Junction
Doncaster–Lincoln line
to Doncaster
Torksey Viaduct
over River Trent
West Trent Junction
East Trent Junction
Gainsborough Lea Road
Gainsborough Central
Stow Park
Sykes Junction
Kirton Lindsey
Kirton Tunnel
Nottingham–Lincoln line
to Newark Castle
Boultham Jn ◁
Pyewipe Jn
W Holmes Jn
Lincoln Central
Peterborough–Lincoln line
to Sleaford
South Humberside Main Line
to Hatfield and Stainforth
Newark line
Barton line
to Barton-on-Humber
Great Coates
Barton Line
to Immingham Docks
Grimsby Town
East Lincolnshire Railway
to Louth
Grimsby Docks
New Clee

The Sheffield–Lincoln line is a railway line in England. It runs from Sheffield east to Lincoln via Worksop, Retford and Gainsborough Lea Road. The route comprises the main line of the former Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR), to Gainsborough Trent Junction, where it then follows the former Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Railway (GNGEJR) to Lincoln Central. The former MS&LR main line continues from Trent Junction to Wrawby Junction, Barnetby, much of it now single line, where it then runs to Cleethorpes. This is currently served by six trains (three each way) on Saturdays only.[1]


Current services[edit]

The line comprises two passenger routes: The main line route from Sheffield to Lincoln and a branch line route running from Sheffield to Cleethorpes, using the Brigg branch line from Gainsborough Trent Junction.[2] The Brigg branch line, however, primarily carries freight trains to/from the Port of Immingham.

Main line route[edit]

The route largely follows the former MS&LR main line, until Trent Junction, Gainsborough where it goes on to follow the former GNGEJR line to Lincoln.

An hourly service provided by Northern runs this route. Additional services provided by East Midlands Trains serve the line between Gainsborough and Lincoln.

Brigg branch line route[edit]

This route follows the former MS&LR main line to Cleethorpes.

A service of 3 trains each-way is provided by Northern on saturdays only runs along this route.

Former Routes[edit]

Clarborough Junction-Sykes Junction branch[edit]

Clarborough Junction is about 3.75 miles (6.04 km) east of Retford.[3] This Sheffield and Lincolnshire Junction Railway branch had originally been proposed in 1844.[4] It opened on 7 August 1850[5]

The line diverged from the MS&LR main line at Clarborough junction ran through Leverton, Cottam and Torksey to Sykes Junction (located about 1.3 miles (2.1 km) northwest of Saxilby). Services from Sheffield via the branch line to Lincoln, then continuing to Grimsby and Cleethorpes via Market Rasen, used to operate along the line. Opening of the line was delayed for four months by controversy over the safety of Torksey Viaduct. It is now a Grade II listed structure, though the line closed to passengers on 2 November 1959.[6]

In 1967 the line was reopened from Clarborough Junction to Cottam to serve Cottam power stations and is now solely used for freight traffic. On reopening, Clarborough Junction signalbox was closed and control passed to Thrumpton, and the two level crossings were converted to automatic half barriers.[7] The Thrumpton box was rebuilt in 2014.[8]

Future services[edit]

On 9 April 2018 it was announced that from December 2018 a regular hourly service will be started between Gainsborough Central (on the Brigg branch line) and Sheffield on weekdays and Saturdays, the most regular service the station has received since 1849. Stopping at all stations, it will allow the Lincoln Sheffield service to run non-stop between Worksop and Sheffield as part of the Northern Connect service.[9]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 9 December 1983, a freight train collided at low speed with the side of a local passenger train at Wrawby Junction. The first carriage of the passenger train was derailed and turned over onto its side, and one passenger was killed instantly.[10]
  • On 28 February 2007, a EWS freight train derailed at a set of points between Lincoln Central train station and Lincoln High Street level crossing. There were no injuries.[11]
  • On 27 April 2012, a Northern Rail passenger train running the Lincoln-Adwick route derailed as it was leaving Clarborough tunnel on the retford side. this was due to a landslip onto the line. The driver and a passenger were taken to hospital with minor injuries.[12]
  • 4 December 2012, a Northern Rail Passenger train running a Scunthorpe-Lincoln route, struck and fatally injured a worker on the tracks near Saxilby. [13]
  • On 30 June 2015, a DB Schenker freight train was derailed near the site of Langworth station, on the Lincoln-Grimsby line.[14]

Types of train[edit]

The line is operated by Northern, who mainly utilise Class 142 and Class 150 sets (though Class 153 single railcars can also appear[15]). From Gainsborough Trent Junction (where the line from Doncaster joins) eastwards to Lincoln, class 153 and Class 156 units operated by East Midlands Trains share the route. The Brigg route is also used by freight traffic between Immingham docks and the power stations at West Burton, Cottam (after reversing in Worksop sidings) and West Yorkshire & the East Midlands.

Retford dive-under[edit]

The Sheffield and Lincolnshire Junction Railway (S&LJR) (later Great Central Railway (GCR), now the Sheffield-Lincoln line) was the first railway in Retford, arriving on 6 July 1849. This was the joined by the Great Northern Railway (GNR) line from Doncaster, arriving on 4 September 1849 with the GNR crossing the S&LJR at a flat crossing. This flat crossing caused congestion as trains could not run on both lines at the same time, this was to become a bigger problem with the commenced constructions of West Burton and Cottam power stations, which would require 5million imperial tons (approx. 5.08 tonnes) of coal a year - to be sourced from the NCB's east midlands and north east coalfields. The flat crossing also placed a speed restriction on express trains using the GNR line.[16]

In order to alleviate these problems a dive-under was constructed which saw the GCR pass under a new bridge which the LNER passed over. Construction started in 1963 and was completed in 1965 - during the time of construction trains continued to use the flat crossing. upon completion of the dive-under the flat crossing was finally removed on 13 June 1965, allowing through trains on the LNER to finally use normal operating speeds, and allowing trains to run on both lines at the simultaneously.[17] The approach slopes into the dive-under's 2,160 feet (660 m) long channel have a gradient of 1 in 100 on the east and 1 in 133 on the west side. [17]


  1. ^ Northern Rail Timetable 32, Sheffield to Lincoln 19 May - 7 December 2013[dead link] Northern Rail website; Retrieved 5 September 2013
  2. ^ "Sheffield to Gainsborough to Lincoln/Cleethorpes Train Timetable" (PDF). Northern. Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  3. ^ Railways Archive 1854 derailment report
  4. ^ 1845 Gazette notice
  5. ^ Nottinghamshire Archives record of Sheffield & Lincolnshire Junction Railway (Clarborough to Lincoln)
  6. ^ Torksey Viaduct description, history and photo
  7. ^ Modern Railways September 1966 p. 506
  8. ^ Thrumpton signal box
  9. ^ Norton, Emily (April 2018). "Regular train service to return to Gainsborough after 25 years". Lincolnshire Reporter. Retrieved 9 April 2018. 
  10. ^ "Report on the collision that occurred on 9th December 1983 at Wrawby Junction" (PDF). Railway Archives. Department of Transport. 
  11. ^ "Derailment leads to train delays". BBC News - Lincolnsire. Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  12. ^ "Derailment at Clarborough tunnel, near Retford, Nottinghamshire, 27 April 2012" (PDF). Rail Accident Investigation Branch, Department for Transport. 
  13. ^ "Fatal accident involving a track worker at Saxilby 4 December 2012" (PDF). Rail Accident Investigation Branch, Department of Transport. 
  14. ^ "Freight train derails near Lincoln". The Lincolnite. Stonebow Media Ltd. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  15. ^ Railscot - Photographs of Lincoln; Retrieved 5 September 2013
  16. ^ "Timeline Article 'Dive-under at Retford' dated January 1963". RailUK. Retrieved 24 January 2018. 
  17. ^ a b "Building of Retford Dive-under in 1963-65". Retrieved 24 January 2018.