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  Where you are: Local History - PhotoTopics - Railways
  Railways
 

 

TICKHILL TRANSPORT AND

 THE SOUTH YORKSHIRE JOINT RAILWAY

(The photographs which relate to this topic are in the Gallery section of the website under "Society Activities" - "Commercial " - "Transport".)

 Until the arrival of the South Yorkshire Joint Railway (SYJR) in the early 20th century, all transport was by road; Tickhill was easily accessible as two turnpike roads, Bawtry to Tinsley and Balby to Worksop, ran through the village. In the early 19th century, it was well-served by mail coaches as the ‘Glasgow Mail’ from London to Glasgow stopped at the Red Lion twice a day, and the ‘Royal Forrester’ and the ‘Light Post Coach’ operated services to Nottingham throughout the week. By the late 1830s they were joined by services to Stamford and Lincoln, and every Saturday, local man, James Storer ran a coach service to Doncaster.

 However, transport services used regularly by villagers were more likely to have been those operated by local carriers, such as James Western, who left Church Street for Doncaster every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday (market days).  Church Street was also the starting point for George Malkin’s service to Retford.  Carriers, John Hibberson and William Crampton operated services to Gainsborough and Sheffield from The Millstone, whilst W & J Pettifor travelled to London and York from The Three Crowns twice a week. 

Construction

 Until 1910, Tickhill people wishing to travel to Doncaster had, therefore, to use one of the aforementioned methods of transport. The passing of the 1903 South Yorkshire Joint Railway (SYJR) Act paved the way for a direct train link between Tickhill and Doncaster.

 Ownership of the SYJR was shared by the five major railway companies serving South Yorkshire:  the Great Northern Railway, Great Central Railway, Midland Railway, North Eastern Railway and the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway. The whole purpose of the SYJR was essentially to transport coal, and to give easy access to those collieries not linked directly to a main line operated by the railway companies. The new line ran from Dinnington to Kirk Sandall with spurs to local collieries.

 Construction of SYJR began at Dinnington in November 1905. Navvies, working between 6am and 5pm, used gunpowder to blast through rock, and manual and mechanical methods - picks and shovels and 15 patent steam excavators and cranes, capable of moving 12,000-15,000 tons of earth daily - were employed to clear the site ready for laying the track.

 The Navvies lived in camps or lodgings in the local villages. Some brought their families; their behaviour was good, possibly due to regular visits to the ‘Navvies Mission’, to which the SYJR made regular contributions of £50.00.

 The line opened for freight on January 1, 1909. The SYJR had no locos or rolling stock; each of the joint companies supplied their own.

 Tickhill Station

  Although Tickhill did not serve a colliery, the line, which the Doncaster Gazette described as ‘ a remarkable piece of railway enterprise’ ran close to the village and a station was constructed on Doncaster Road at Gallow Hill half way between Tickhill and Wadworth; passengers, however, faced a long walk from either village.

 Tickhill Station was built by F J Salmon of Cudworth; he had a joint contract to build stations at both Tickhill and Maltby at a cost of £4,738. The station was built of red brick with two platforms approximately 350 feet long connected by a footbridge, a booking hall, waiting room, porter’s room, and goods’ yard. The station was renamed Tickhill  & Wadworth in 1911.

 Staff

 The station was initially manned by a stationmaster with an annual salary of£65 and a signalman, who combined his duties in the Tickhill & Wadworth signal box with that of the porter. He worked a 12-hour day, 6 days a week, with no meal breaks for, the sum of one guinea (£1.05) per week. Other employees worked a 10-hour day, 7 days a week but were allowed meal breaks.

 The stationmaster was provided with a house on site for an annual rent of £15.12.0. (£15.60), he also received ten days holiday per year; the holiday allocation for the other staff was not so generous, with the signalman receiving four days and other employees three.

 Each employee was given three free rail passes a year, one of which could be used abroad; in addition his wife and any children under 15 were permitted to accompany him on two of these journeys.

 All staff were provided with free uniforms, which were replaced every two years; however the stationmaster had new cap every year.

 By 1924, the number of staff had increased, as had their pay: the stationmaster now received any annual salary of £220 and a clerk £105; there were four signalmen, who each received £135.5.0. (£135.25) and two porters received £119.10.0. (£119.50) each.

 23-year-old Wilbert Briggs was the first stationmaster. In December 1909 he was promoted to a Traffic Inspector; he continued to work for SYJR until his retirement 42 years later.  Briggs was an all-round sportsman, who officiated at the 1934 Empire Games. In 1920 the stationmaster was Charles England, he again lived in the station house, on his retirement he moved to Tickhill, where he remained until 1970.

 Passenger services

 July 6, 1909 saw the first passenger excursion from Tickhill: 142 adults and 122 children from Tickhill Wesleyan Chapel paid 3/- (15p) and 1/6 (7p) respectively for a Sunday School outing to Cleethorpes. Although the weather was unfavourable, it did not diminish the excitement of the passengers who arrived at the station by horse-drawn Wagonette and a variety of other horse-drawn vehicles. The success of excursions, such as this, led to regular passenger services at Tickhill.

 The first regular service between Doncaster and Worksop, which stopped at Tickhill, commenced on December 1, 1910 with four trains a day; the journey to Doncaster took 16 minutes. Fares from Doncaster to Tickhill were single 1st class 10d (4p) and 3rd class 6(2½ p); return 1/8 (8p) and 10d (4p) respectively. Cheap rates were introduced on market days when a 3rd class return was 9d (3½p). However, few people travelled 1st class, and the line lost money, as a result services were reduced to three a day in August 1911. Despite 1913 being a boom year for passenger travel, more 1st class travellers were needed to make the service profitable; by 1917 a further reduction resulted in a Saturdays only service.

 Daily services resumed in the 1920s, but despite 20 girls from the area travelling Monday to Friday on the 8.20am to Doncaster High School and returning on the evening train, and the popularity of the service during St Leger week there was a decline in passengers: by now potential 1st class passengers had their own car and 3rd class passengers found the bus service cheaper. Another factor was the location of the station, which was 1¼ miles outside the village. 

The line closed completely during the General Strike in May 1926 and although coal trains commenced again in October, the passenger service didn’t re-start until July 1927, with two trains each way daily.

 As well as coal, the transportation of cattle and sheep to and from local farms was now the most important consignment. 

On December 2, 1929 the passenger service on the SYJR was withdrawn, there was little opposition, only Tickhill Urban District Council objected on the grounds that local traders would lose their delivery service. 

During the 1930s, evening excursions and seaside trips operated. Passenger services had been an expensive luxury on what had essentially been a freight line for coal.

 Over the years, there were various forms of transport for passengers to and from Tickhill to the station. Joseph Saxton of Northgate paid a £1.00 annual fee for the contract to run a horse-drawn carriage service for a fare of ½d  (1p). Saxton’s horse drawn Wagonette service still worked between Tickhill and the station in the 1920s, but by then it was in competition with a motorbus service between Doncaster and Tickhill, which had had been started by Mr Preece in 1919. Three years later, in 1922 it was taken over by W T Underdown; the advantage of this new service was that it passed through the centre of the village. Another more expensive option was a taxi: the fare 1/6 (12p).

(The photographs which relate to this topic are in the Gallery section of the website under "Society Activities" - "Commercial " - "Transport".)


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