Retford Railway Station - Retford, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
N 53° 18.900 W 000° 56.869
30U E 636710 N 5909276
Quick Description: Retford railway station is on the East Coast Main Line in the United Kingdom, serving the town of Retford, Nottinghamshire.
Location: East Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 1/13/2021 8:49:35 AM
Waymark Code: WM13N6R
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member fi67
Views: 1

Long Description:

"It is 138 miles 49 chains (223.1 km) down the line from London King's Cross and is situated between Newark North Gate and Doncaster on the main line.

It has four platforms, two of which serve the main line and the other two, located at a lower level and at right angles to the first pair, serve the Sheffield to Lincoln Line.

The station

The first railway into Retford was the Sheffield and Lincolnshire Junction Railway which opened on 16 July 1849 on their line between Sheffield (Bridgehouses) and Gainsborough. The Great Northern Railway line from Doncaster arrived on 4 September 1849 crossing the S&LJR on the level. It used the latter's station until its own was completed (on the site of today's higher-level platforms) on 1 August 1852. On 1 July 1859, the S&LJR (now the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway) began using the GNR station via a short connecting curve, and closed its original station.

The higher-level platforms (numbered 1 and 2) respectively serve southbound and northbound East Coast Main Line trains operated by London North Eastern Railway which call at Retford. Platform 1 (on the eastern side of the layout) adjoins the main station building. Between the two platforms tracks there are two further lines, used by fast trains not booked to call here.

Prior to the remodelling of the station, the two lines crossed at a flat crossing with a curve connecting the northern and eastern tracks, allowing trains on the Sheffield-Gainsborough line to call at the station. There were two northbound platforms - platform 2 (now closed) was on the eastern side of an island platform and platform 3 on the opposite side (still in use, now renumbered 2). Platform 1 handled southbound and eastbound trains. In addition, there was a single southbound line which passed in between platforms 1 and 2, rather than the two lines in place today. To relieve congestion on platform 1, there was a timber-built extension on the south curve (platform 1A) to allow Lincoln-bound trains to clear platform 1 proper.

The new lower-level platforms (originally numbered 4 and 5, now re-numbered 3 and 4) were added when the flat crossing between the two lines was removed and replaced with a bridge in 1965 and the Sheffield-Gainsborough tracks lowered to pass beneath the main line. These works also necessitated the removal of the direct north-to-east curve, meaning that trains between Sheffield and Lincoln could no longer call at the original platforms without a reversal. The curve connecting the Sheffield to Lincoln line to the current Platform 2 still exists and is used by a limited number of trains each day.

The former Buffet and First Class Dining room on platform 1 are currently used as clubrooms by the Bassetlaw (North Notts) Railway Society. The club has installed an interesting display of local railway images in the windows of the rooms.

Retford station was Grade II listed by Historic England in July 2020. The current buildings date from 1891-2 and the reason for listing was given as "the very rare survival of the original finishes in the dining room and refreshment room" which are said to be ornate and featuring "fine craftsmanship"; the "remarkably long and well-balanced composition in the Italianate style" of the station buildings and the "impressive" canopy over the platform; and the well-preserved plan form which make it 'one of the most intact medium-sized GNR stations'.

The work of the WVS of Retford is celebrated with a plaque at Retford train station (on Platform 1), which states that between March 1940 and March 1946 they served 2,284,000 meals to HM and Allied Forces in the canteen and rest room.


The station is staffed throughout the week, with most amenities (booking office, toilets, coffee shop and vending machine) in the main building on platforms 1. The ticket office is manned Monday - Friday 05:35 - 18:00, Saturday 05:35 - 16:10 and Sunday 08:20 - 16:10. A self-service ticket machine is also provided for use when the booking office is closed and for collecting pre-paid tickets. Train running information is offered via automated announcements, CIS displays and timetable posters. There are also customer help points on both low-level platforms, along with waiting shelters. All platforms are fully accessible for disabled passengers via lifts and a subway, although platform 3 (for Sheffield) can only be reached via a barrow crossing and requires staff assistance.

Accidents and incidents

On 13 February 1923, an express passenger train overran signals and was in a rear-end collision with a goods train. Three people were killed.

References in popular culture

Bill Bryson comments of Retford station, in his book Notes from a Small Island, that it is shown on railway maps in a typeface (and large filled circle graphic) marking it as equivalent to much more notable cities in northern England, and he therefore deemed it worth a visit.

Michael Palin of Monty Python fame recalls frequently visiting Retford Station as a youngster for train spotting,[citation needed] as it was in easy reach of his home city of Sheffield and provided access to legendary locomotives like the Flying Scotsman running on the East Coast Main Line.


East Coast Main Line

The station's High Level platforms are served by London North Eastern Railway on a basic two-hourly frequency each way Mon-Fri, northbound to York and southbound to London King's Cross. Additional peak period services run to/from Leeds, Edinburgh and Newcastle. A similar basic frequency also operates on Saturdays, but trains run through to Edinburgh or Leeds. Most services run by open access operator Hull Trains also call here.


The new Northern franchise agreement came into effect in April 2016 and significant improvements were made on the Sheffield to Lincoln Line with effect from the May 2019 timetable change. The service frequency to and from Sheffield has been doubled to 2 trains per hour on weekdays (hourly on Sundays). A new hourly stopping service to and from Gainsborough Central runs six days per week until early evening (giving that station its first regular daily service since October 1993), whilst the hourly service from Lincoln to Leeds (which are being rebranded as part of the Northern Connect network) now runs fast between Worksop and Sheffield during the daytime.

On Saturdays only, there are also three trains to Grimsby Town and Cleethorpes via Brigg.

A small number of trains from Sheffield start/terminate here, including two that use the surviving connection via Whisker Hill Junction to reach platform 2 at High Level (a practice that was much more common in the 1970s when the Lincoln route had fewer through trains)." link
Is the station/depot currently used for railroad purposes?: Yes

Is the station/depot open to the public?: Yes

What rail lines does/did the station/depot serve?: London-Doncaster/ Yorke Route, London-Hull/Beverley, Sheffield-Lincoln Line and Sheffield-Gainsborough/Cleethorpes Line

Station/Depot Web Site: [Web Link]

If the station/depot is not being used for railroad purposes, what is it currently used for?: Not listed

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