John Speller's Web Pages Worsborough Branch

John Speller's Web Pages - Great Central Railway Great Central Horizontal Menu Great Central Horizontal Menu

Worsborough Branch
The Great Central Railway's Worsborough (or Worsbrough) Branch was a goods only branch running from West Silkstone Junction on the Penistone to Barnsley line to Wombwell Main Junction on the South Yorkshire Railway. A number of coal mines were served along the route, but principally it was a bypass route to relieve congestion at Barnsley and there were no intermediate stations. The line was an engineering nightmare. There were two tunnels -- Silkstone No. 1, 289 yards and Silkstone No. 2, 74 yards -- and the grades were quite horrendous. The 7-mile Worsborough Bank included a 3-mile section at an average grade of 1 in 40. With the mining subsidence that took place over the years the grade was in places even worse, making this the steepest incline on a main line in Britain. The line opened to traffic on 2 August 1880. It was electrified as part of the Manchester to Sheffield and Wath electrification of the 1950s, but closed with the rest of that system in the 1981. A driver's eye view of the line between Wath and Worsborough Bridge during its last days of operation may be seen here.
Westbound coal train on the Worsborough Branch on 11 August 1950, showing the two banking engines -- ex-GC Robinson J11 0-6-0 No. 64374 and ex-WD 2-8-0 No.90709 -- at the rear. There were another two WD's -- Nos. 90190 and 79242 -- at the front! Image copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License
Peppercorn K1 2-6-0 No. 62015 with an eastbound train of coal empties descending Worsborough Bank at Dodsworth on 28 April 1950. Image copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License
Sir Nigel Gresley designed his unique "U-1" Class 2-8-8-2 Beyer-Garratt No. 2395 as two GNR "0-2" Class 2-8-0 chassis bearing a specially designed large boiler, for working freight trains on the Worsborough Incline. It was delivered by Beyer-Peacock in the summer of 1925 and remained working the Worsborough Branch until electrification in the 1950s. The official photograph shows Gresley's assistant, Oliver Bulleid, standing in front of the locomotive.
Ex-LNER "O-1" Class 2-8-0 No. 63890 with an eastbound goods train descending Worsborough Bank at Crowden on 26 April 1950. Image copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License
Site Contents Untitled