Distant

Rainworth Station

Situated just east of Rufford Junction was Blidworth and Rainworth station. Thanks to Allan Parker for sourcing these pictures of the station buildings and for Kevin for passing them on. Although the station has been demolished, the identical buildings Kirklington survive today as a private house. See a photos here (contemporary) and here (historical). The latter image makes an interesting comparision with the above picture, allowing us to see that Rainworth is missing its chimney on the extension to the main building.

Rainworth Station view in the Mansfield direction.

Looking down the track towards Rufford Junction. A cutting with a three-arch bridge was behind the photographer’s back.

Rainworth Station entrance.

The entrance to the station looking north. Some of the houses on South Avenue are in the background.

Blidworth Junction looking towards Rainworth Station

A rare picture (courtesy of Kevin Mulhall) of Blidworth Junction looking towards Rainworth Station. which was about a mile to the west. The tight curve on the left leads to Blidworth Colliery. The layouts for the three colliery junctions on the Southwell line followed a similar pattern.

Blidworth Junction looking towards the White Post

View in the opposite direction showing the signal box. The ‘GC’ (see below) branch to Blidworth Colliery crosses on the overbridge.

According to Closed Railway Lines in Britain and Ireland, the line from Blidworth Junction to Southwell closed on the 1st of March 1965. The stub from Blidworth Junction to Rufford Junction remained open for another year and a half, finally closing on 3rd of October 1966. Rufford Junction (Midland) would have closed on this date too.

Rufford Junction GC

The lines connecting Rufford Blidworth and Bilsthorpe collieries to the former Great Central lines were always referred to collectively as the ‘GC’ though the lines to Bilsthorpe and Blidworth were both opened post-Grouping and were technically LNER lines. The lines to the three collieries branched off the Mansfield Railway at Rufford Junction. The Great Central box at the Junction is shown above in 1981 looking in the direction of the junction. The post with the lamp and ladder marked the drop-off spot for the single-line token for trains coming off the branches. [Picture courtesy of Adrian Stretton. © A. Stretton, 1981.] Link here to a photo of a ROD 2-8-0 taking the curve away from the junction in the Rufford direction.

Rufford Junction GC looking towards Con Sidings

This is the view in opposite direction taken shortly before Rufford Junction box was replaced and controlled from the panel in Concentration Sidings. The layout has already been rationalised. The exit from Clipstone colliery in the Mansfield direction has been lifted and only the single arm of signal 33 remains controlling the exit to the run-around loop. The replacement colour light signal (1202) is visible in the background on the exit from the colliery. The new relay room is situated on the former trackbed of the ‘shortcut’ through siding between the Clipstone runaround loop and the entrance to Concentration Sidings reception. Behind the box we can see the big double-bracket signal still with its full complement of arms. 19 for the Rufford branch, 62 for the Mansfield line and 32 for the Clipstone Colliery loop. [Picture courtesy of Adrian Stretton. © A. Stretton, 1981.]

Rufford Junction GC signalling diagram (mechanical)

The signalling diagram for Rufford Junction (GC) (see picture of the box above).

Rufford Junction GC signalling diagram (electric)

The corresponding diagram after the box had been demolished and replaced by a panel in Mansfield Concentration Sidings box. (Thanks to John at lymmobservatory.net for permission to use this picture).

The interior of Rufford Junction (G.C.) looking towards the Mansfield end, c. 1981

The interior of Rufford Junction (G.C.) looking towards the Mansfield end, c.1981. The Tyer’s token machine for the line to Rufford, Blidworth and Bilsthorpe collieries is at the far end of the box. A version of the diagram hanging above the frame is shown above. [Picture courtesy of Adrian Stretton. © A. Stretton, 1981.]

The interior of Rufford Junction (G.C.) looking towards the Con Sidings end, c. 1981

The interior of Rufford Junction (G.C.) looking towards the Con Sidings end, c.1981. [Picture courtesy of Adrian Stretton. © A. Stretton, 1981.]

The interior of Concentration Sidings lookings towards Rufford Junction end

The interior of Concentration Sidings box c.1981, looking towards the Rufford Junction end. The panel controlling Rufford Junction can be seen at the far end of the box. [Picture courtesy of Adrian Stretton. © A. Stretton, 1981.]

Comments

6 Responses to “Distant”

  1. kevin mulhall on December 1st, 2008 3:43 pm

    Hi Clyde,
    Re Rufford Junction GC,I seen the following classes fo locomotive here from 1979 to 1981 08 20 31 37 47 56,the class 08 was 2 working 9T23 Clipstone and Mansfield on days and afternoons,Rufford and Blidworth trip was T19 and also T24 locomovites seen on T19 and T24 was class 20 31 37,Bilsthorpe was HEA traffic to start with to High Marnham with a class 47 then over to class 56,I only seen about 10 mgr turns from Blidworth and the odd 1 or 2 from Mansfield Rufford and Clipstone,when I was at Mansfield CS I seen classes 08,20,25 from Lincoln,31,37,40 from Tinsley with tanks from Warsop oil depot,45 from Tinsley on J97,47,56.

  2. kevin mulhall on December 1st, 2008 10:56 pm

    Clyde,sorry I ment to say I had seen classes 08/20/31/37/47/56 from Shirebrook,also I have seen classes 40/45 from Tinsley the 40 working on empty oil tanks from Warsop,the class 45 was on J97,the class 25 was on a working from Lincoln and it worked back light engine.

  3. Kevin Mulhall on May 27th, 2009 1:04 pm

    Hi Clyde Re the picture of inside Rufford Junction looking towards Mansfield cs,if you look you will see me in green top and jeans

  4. Peter Soar on February 24th, 2010 10:16 pm

    My grandparents lived on South Avenue (the houses visible in the photo of Blidworth & Rainworth station, looking from the road). To the west of the station building, there was a single storey brick building, which I was told, housed the machinery for a weighbridge. I can only ever remember one passenger train stopping at the station. This would have been arouns 1964, perhaps a special for Southwell races.

  5. Andrew Higginson on March 5th, 2011 11:03 am

    Many years ago I had the privilage to know an old Toton Relief Signalman by the name of Tom Rodgers.He was volunteering as a site guide on the MRT at the time. Tom had countlesss stories about his long and varied career on the railway. He worked on occasions in the Mansfield area and was resident for a while at Blidworth Colliery Junction.

    Blidworth Colliery was one of the later mines to be sunk in the area. Geological problems meant that it ceased production almost immediately after it opened whislt further development work was carried out. It was never an easy pit to work, most of it’s activity being in the notoriously challenging High Hazells seam. Superb coal but very hard got. Blidworth’s coal was of very consistent quality which led to it’s use in the 1948 loco exchange trials. Anyway, I digress. Back to, I think, 1928.

    Tom was working at Blidworth during the period of suspended production at the pit, so there was virtually no traffic along the branch, just a few wagons of materials going in each week and empties back out. (Not the direction of traffic flow that the colliery company were hoping for!)These were the early days of radio and crystal sets were the thing of the time. Tom was fascinated by this modern technology and owned a crystal set, as did quite a few of the men locally. The Block Inspectors new this and as far back as 1928 they were sneaking around trying to catch Signalmen with the radio on! However, this wasn’t easy at Blidworth. These fearsome figures of high authority had to travel about by train to visit the boxes making up their empire. Signalmen obviously were on the lookout around ‘passenger’ time for unexpected visitors so the Inspectors also used to make use of the local bus service for unexpected visits. Aa Blidworth this was no problem, they had the bus timetable and the stop was on the road just on the Mansfield side of the box, in clear view of an alert Signlman. Although an inspector did almost catch Tomthere with the radio on once, fortunately the sets were small enough to be swept up in the hand (at the cost of the connecting wires!) and slipped into a uniform jacket pocket.

    The thing that did give the game away was the state of the batteries for the telephone to the coliiery weighbridge. The S&T Linesman simply couldn’t understand why the Leclanche cells needed constant topping up when there was virtually no use being made of the phone. There was talk of involving the S&T inspector to look for faults so Tom came clean to the Lineman and explained that the open line wires on that phone circuit made a perfect aerial for the crytal sets and that the battery was also providing the power! Needless to say an arrangement was reached whereby the S&T left the materials for battery maintenance and the Signalmen took over maintaining them on an unoffical basis and nothing further was said!

  6. John on March 14th, 2011 11:17 pm

    Hi! Having found your site through google I was in awe to see all these brilliant memories of mining from around my area. My father was a miner for Bevercoats and my late uncle used to work on the trains and must have ridden through some of these junctions at some point. Out of curiosity I visited Rufford Jctn with a friend as I have a keen interest in trains, this was in 2006 knowing the lines were not in use. I photographed the area and pictures are on my website. I must stress how sorry I felt at all the vandalism, it disgusted me. The site was open when we arrived so there was no forced entry or vandalism on our part. We even returned a signal to its former perch out of respect. I think it was signal 205 on the run round line or at least a repeater of it. Your more than welcome to use any of my photos you find of interest, though most are taken at night. Top marks for a really fascinating insight to our railways =] I’ve really enjoyed browsing round =]