Rufford Colliery Sidings

Class 20s 20185 and 20181 6th September 1981

Seems I wasn’t the only photographer to climb signal 19 in pursuit of a panorama of the loaded sidings! 20185 and 20181 assemble their train on the 6th September 1981. A good selection of wagons are in the sidings.

Class 20s 20185 and 20181 from Clipstone Branch, 10th August 1979

Class 20s 20185 and 20181 try to get up some momentum to take them towards Mansfield with a train from Clipstone Colliery. 20185 displays an interesting set of headcode marker lights while number 8 signal behind the box seems to have turned into an upper-quadrant…

Thanks to Kevin and to Nick for passing on the excellent pics taken by Steve Lawn (above).

8F 48408 leaves Rufford Colliery in the early 1950s

Peter Churchman passed on this great picture of a Rufford Colliery Sidings in its heyday (c.1950/51) taken by Frank Ashley of Kirkby. It shows Stanier 8F no 48408 (looking spruced up for the photo) pulling past the box with some antique 5- and 7-plank wagons. The train had probably been assembled by setting back rakes of wagons onto the empty branch — as the tall No 26 signal can just be seen in the off position behind the box. Signals 8 and 9 behind the locomotive lasted in their original state right to the end of the box’s life. All of the point rodding for the full layout is in place. The run up to No 16 points for the lie-bye siding can be seen alongside the Clipstone Branch. The silver birch trees on the embankment behind are only a few years old.

Rufford Colliery Sidings box lasted for 53 years: it was opened in 1928 as a junction for the new extension to Clipstone and closed in 1981. Thanks to Peter Churchman for the account of the box’s history and layout permutations given below:

Firstly, I was most surprised to learn from Gough that the box we knew at Rufford Colliery Sdgs now appears to have been the second such SB at that site…!

Gough records that on 10/02/1918 “Rufford Colliery” box was opened.

Unfortunately I know nothing further about this one, but I will check see if either the SRS or the NRM have any further records…

However as this date comes slightly less than 3 years after the opening of the branch to Rufford colliery, it may be that coal production here warranted improved rail facilities and the provision of a SB (but this is only my assumption)!

Also attached is the earliest diagram I have of RCS, drawn from an original [ex BR(E)] signalling plan of 1965.

Rufford Colly Sdgs 1965 layout

Gough states that a replacement box “Rufford Colly Sdgs” opened 12/1928, ‘Tablet working’ was introduced on the Rufford Branch in 1928, and that the Clipstone colliery branch opened on either 29/12/1928 or 01/02/1929. – This would clearly be the reason a new box was required.

As SRS records record that “c.1927 – new contractor’s siding for Clipstone branch”,

also “c.1929 – junction for Clipstone Colliery branch into use”. – This info also ties in with the above…

Finally – the inevitable ‘downhill & decline’ info…

11/12/1973 – Clipstone siding abolished. (connections at Mansfield end of this and Rufford siding would have been severed in 1968 when Rufford Jct box closed).

This is also how I remember the place! [The photograph of the class 44 below is taken during this period.]

Rufford Colly Sdgs 1973 layout

13/02/1975 – 13 points removed (with sigs 2, 5 & 20).

Rufford Colly Sdgs 1981 (final) layout

29/11/1981 – Signal box abolished. – New ground frame into use (working former 14 points) and ‘No Signalman’ Key Token working introduced from Mansfield Colly Jct.

15/10/1983 – Mansfield South Jct to Rufford Colliery Sdgs closed

A couple of further entries from Gough, which don’t appear to tie in at all :-

‘Rufford Colly Sdgs to Rufford Colliery’ – closed 07/02/1971

‘Rufford Colliery to Clipstone Colliery’ – closed 19/02/1980.

…unless anyone else understands these entries???

Certainly a new spur was provided in 1983, diverting the ex Midland Clipstone branch into the ex GC Rufford Jct to Blidworth colly branch, providing direct access into Rufford colly from the GC Rufford Jct (by that time worked from a switch panel in Concentration Sidings box).

Peter Churchman

Class 44 with brake heading towards Clipstone.

Class 44s lived out their lives pulling coal trains after the glamour of mainline work had faded. Here a member of the class heads towards Clipstone colliery pushing a brake van. This was taken around 1974/5 before the facing crossover from the Clipstone line to the Rufford headshunt (originally loop) was removed. The only picture I have showing a signal arm on the left-hand doll of the Clipstone home signal.

Class 20s with train from Clipstone.

Same location as above but about seven years later.

Towards Rufford Jct.

Turning around we see the train passing the signal. The remains of the the Clipstone loop can be seen on the right. The signal on the left (No 4) originally had two arms (one for Rufford, one for the crossover to the Clipstone branch. There was also a tall upper-quadrant home (No 2) protecting the running line and a second shunt signal (this time with one arm) guarding the exit from the Clipstone loop. These signals were more or less in line with each other.

In relation to mileposts, Kevin Mulhall comments:

White City 1st Avenue end of the 4th Avenue was 143/ 3/4. Mile post 144 is about at Rainworth bypass Rufford Junction side. 144 1/4 still standing the last I saw it was next to number 4 signal at Rufford Colliery.

A pair of class 20s on the Clipstone run while another couple assemble their train in the Rufford sidings.

This time the picture is taken from the top of the Clipstone home signal. A pair of class 20s on the Clipstone run while another couple assemble their train in the Rufford sidings. What are the sheeted wagons in the GC sidings carrying?

Class 47 leaving Rufford Colliery

Class 47s were rarely seen on the Midland (though they were common enough on the GC side). Here a green-liveried engine struggles to ascend the gradient without a banker. The tall, upper-quadrant No 2 signal is visible behind the train. A pair of class 20s can just be seen on the Clipstone line. They eventually provided banking assistance when the 47 couldn’t manage the gradient.

Class 45 Rufford Box

If you saw a Peak it was usually a 44. The occasional 45 did stray down the branch as this picture testifies.

class-20s and brake to Clipstone

Class 20s and brake to Clipstone.

Train in distance on Clipstone branch

A loaded coal train is visible in the distance on the Clipstone branch.

Train from Clipstone

The train seen in the distance in the above picture passes signals 6 and 7. This was taken in 1981 just before the box was removed. The replacement levers controlling the points (yet to be connected) are immediately to the left of the engine.

I received the following comment from Kevin Mulhall:

Looking at the wagons, they look like they are all minfits. If this is the case then the train could well be going to Toton with Southam traffic.

Class 20s in front of Rufford Colliery Sidings Box in the mid-1970s

Class 20s in front of Rufford Colliery Sidings Box in the mid-1970s.

Exchanging the Clipstone Line staff for the single line token to Mansfield Colliery Sidings

Signalman Roy Edge exchanges the Clipstone Line staff for the single line token to Mansfield Colliery Sidings.

A view of the loaded sidings taken from the signal box in the early 1980s.

A view of the loaded sidings taken from the signal box in the early 1980s.

Snowplough-fitted class 20s leave Rufford in 1974. A poor-quality picture put the only one I have showing the three-way point to the loop on the west of the running line.

Snowplough-fitted class 20s leave Rufford in 1974. A poor-quality picture put the only one I have showing the three-way point to the loop on the west of the running line.

Engines run round brake van 1

These engines have towed the brake van from Mansfield but it’s now at the wrong end for the Clipstone run. So they’ve abandoned the brake halfway up the incline to Rufford Junction (you can just see it beyond the 6 and 7 signals) and are running over the crossover to the Rufford line where they’ll wait and let the brake roll down the incline assisted by gravity. Then they’ll run back over the crossover, reverse and coupled onto the rear of the brake van.

Engines run round brake van 2

The pair of class 20s idle outside the box as the brake rolls down the gradient.

Engines run round brake van 3

The van has rolled down the gradient and cleared the crossover, so the engines complete the manoeuvre. The brake needed to be ahead of the engine so they could push it up the short, inclined spur at the entrance to Clipstone Colliery yard. When the train was assembled it would move forward and stop just ahead of the brake which would then roll down the spur and couple to the rear of the train.

Engines run round brake van 4

The brake van in the correct position, the engines move away towards Clipstone…

Engines run round brake van 5

… and disappear up the branch.

Brake van spur at Clipstone (Midland) loaded sidings

The brake van spur at Clipstone loaded siding. The picture was taken by Roy Edge, former signalman at Rufford Colliery Sidings.

Train and brake van at Clipstone loaded sidings

Another picture taken by Roy of a train being assembled for departure at Clipstone. Once the train was ready to go it would pull ahead of the spur, halt, and the brake would roll down the incline and couple to rear of the train.

Class 20s 20151 and 20185 10th March 1980

On a sunnier day in 1980 Steve Lawn snapped 20151 and 20185 preparing to depart. More thanks to Kevin and to Nick for passing this on.

View from the Clipstone branch back to the box

View from the Clipstone branch back to the box.

Kevin Mulhall (lamplad at the time) removes a lamp from the home signal on the Clipstone line. 1981.

Kevin Mulhall (lamplad at the time) removes a lamp from the No 19 home signal on the Clipstone line. 1981.

On a wet day engines and brake set off for Clipstone Colliery.

On a wet day engines and brake set off for Clipstone Colliery.

Elmseley Crossing gates on the Clipstone branch

Elmseley (Elmsley? Helmsley?) [not Inkersall!] crossing gates on the Clipstone branch. The Rufford empty sidings are hidden on the right. If you look hard you can just see the rickety bridge over the empty sidings. This didn’t lead anywhere — it allowed you to inspect the interior of the empty wagons. Not sure why anyone would want to do this — perhaps someone can remember?

Kevin Mulhall provides the answer:

…the bridge was for making sure the empty wagons were empty as sometimes they had rubbish in them…

Elmseley Crossing gates on the Clipstone branch, 2001

Peter Churchman photographed the melancholy remains twenty years later in 2001. The telegraph poles have survived against the odds.

[geo_mashup_map height="485" width="485" zoom="18" add_overview_control="false" add_map_type_control="true"]

This is the location of Rufford Colliery Sidings box from the most recent Google Maps Satellite image. As of November 2008 you can still see the remains of the line with track still in place.

Comments

15 Responses to “Rufford Colliery Sidings”

  1. Kevin Mulhall on November 16th, 2008 2:44 pm

    Hi Clyde,
    Rufford signal box shut 1981,remember I was the lamplad at the time,as when Rufford shut I moved to Tuxford Central

  2. Clyde on November 16th, 2008 8:40 pm

    I have a photo of you – think it was taken on the day the box closed (see above!)

  3. Kevin Mulhall on November 16th, 2008 8:50 pm

    Hi Clyde,
    it could well be,I had a LMS signal lamp from Rufford this is now at Newark

  4. Kevin Mulhall on November 18th, 2008 10:36 am

    Hi Clyde,
    Re the picture of the 2×20 outside the box,they would be waiting for the brake van to run down on to the Clipstone line and then they would go brake van first to Clipstone ok

  5. Clyde on November 18th, 2008 8:44 pm

    Yes, I’ve added a picture of this manoeuvre.

  6. Kevin Mulhall on November 24th, 2008 11:26 am

    Hi Clyde,
    the Google map is wrong,the signal box was at the end of the line on the right,if you zoom in on the map you will see the place we use to park cars etc on the left

  7. Clyde on November 25th, 2008 12:48 am

    I’ll take another look — I thought I’d got it!

  8. Kevin Mulhall on November 27th, 2008 9:43 am

    Clyde the peak is number 39 working 8D27

  9. andrew on December 7th, 2008 7:57 pm

    hello kevin – as you were lampie at Rufford Colliery Box , do you know who did the lamps at Mansfield Colliery Junction Box – i think i have a photo of lamps being changed there…..

  10. Peter Churchman on December 21st, 2008 2:36 am

    Clyde,
    Lampman on LM side was a chap named Carrol. Can’t remember his surname, but he was from Mansfield Woodhouse. – You actually have a photo of him sat on the locker in MSJ box !

  11. NIGEL NELSON on March 23rd, 2009 9:33 am

    A really good web site. I have always been confused about the lines in this area. Do you have more signalling diagrams. I last visited Clipstone just as it was closing and have some video footage if interested.

  12. Frankie Spowart on March 31st, 2009 7:22 pm

    Hello,
    Great Site, well done.
    Please visit my site for signalboxes on the Great Central line and surrounding colliery lines.
    http://www.longgonesignalboxes.com
    Thanks.

  13. Stevie Zerachy on January 17th, 2010 5:23 pm

    re the pick of Roy Edge taking the token at colly jcn box i cannot ever remember coming off from Clipstone class 9 i.e. unfitted with no brakeforce behind the loco it was always class 8 ( partially fitted)so i suspect the headcode is wrong but it is 35 years ago eek !!
    In regard to the bridge at Rufford colly ety sidings if a wagon was found to be dirty/contaminated it would be run out by the colliery staff as a cripple as any rubbish in the bottom of a wagon with the coal on top could damage equipment when unloaded at the ultimate destination, there would sometime be blocks of concrete and all manner of things dumped in them
    In regard to the brake sidings at Clipstone colliery it was sometimes a devil of a job to get the brake onto the back of the wagons as the departure was in a very steep sided narrow cutting and on a rising gradient and the train had to stop for you to attach the brake and then restart the train on a wet foggy day it was down right dangerous and i speak from experience lol.
    The elf and safety men would have apoplexy now at what took place then.

  14. Richard Maund on June 6th, 2010 9:59 am

    Peter Churchman’s comment: “However as this date [10 Feb 1918] comes slightly less than 3 years after the opening of the branch to Rufford colliery, it may be that coal production here warranted improved rail facilities and the provision of a SB (but this is only my assumption)!” needs slight amplification.

    The Midland branch opened 20 June 1912 while the colliery was still in development – it was 1915 when it came into production so Peter’s “3 years” is from that latter date.

    The 10 Feb 1918 date marks the start of an unadvertised workmen’s service from Mansfield that ran until withdrawn with effect from 16 July 1928. I’m not sure whether this service necessitated provision of a box at Rufford colliery in 1918; John Gough’s researches had access to Midland weekly operating notices so it seems unlikely that he is in error.

  15. Gravity shunting : Rufford Branch on December 20th, 2010 9:19 am

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