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Rotherham Masborough

Rotherham Masborough railway station

Rotherham Masborough railway station was Rotherham's main railway station from the 1840s, until most of its trains were rerouted via Rotherham Central in 1987. It had four platforms, with a large sandstone station building on the eastern Platform Four, large iron and glass platform canopies, a fully-enclosed footbridge and wooden waiting rooms on the other platforms. It closed in 1988, except for a few football specials.

The station, designed by Francis Thompson, was originally opened by the North Midland Railway between Derby's Tri Junct Station and Leeds, known then as, simply, 'Masbrough', without the 'o', since Rotherham had not yet grown to surround the village. The station was renamed 'Masbrough & Rotherham' in 1896, 'Rotherham Masborough' in 1908 and it became simply 'Rotherham' in 1969.

The line was the first main link between Yorkshire and London, via Birmingham or Rugby. In time, it became part of the main line to London St Pancras and the South West. Initially, it avoided a route through the region's main settlement of Sheffield by routing down the Rother Valley, due to difficult terrain on the prospective route south of Sheffield. At Masborough the line passed over the Sheffield & Rotherham Railway's Sheffield Wicker to Rotherham Westgate Station line and a large triangle junction was built allowing trains from the north and North Midland trains to travel into Sheffield from the north-east along the Don Valley. Immediately to the north of this junction stood Rotherham Masborough station.

In the 1870, Sheffield was finally linked with Chesterfield, allowing Midland Main Line trains to call at the newly-opened Sheffield Midland station on their way north, passing back on to North Midland metals via the Sheffield & Rotherham.

As late as the 1940s some long distance passenger trains still used the original Chesterfield - Rotherham old road, avoiding Sheffield and calling at Rotherham. Other ex-London expresses would slip a coach at Rotherham until this practice was discontinued nationally from the 1930s onwards. The corresponding up working would involve the coaches being worked to Sheffield Midland by a local train and the attached to a London express there. Up until the 1980s the odd London-Leeds express train would call at Masborough.

During the 1960s rationalisation of railways, Rotherham Masborough became Rotherham's only station and eventually lost its "Masborough" suffix.

Short-sighted track and signalling rationalisation in the late 1970s meant that platforms 3 and 4 could not be used by Sheffield-bound trains without reversing which made them effectively useless and removed much operational flexibility on the line as express trains could no longer pass local trains at Rotherham without reversing.

By the 1980s railways in South Yorkshire were in a sorry state having lost most of their passengers. Rotherham in particular suffered from its remaining station being, at the time, just under half-a-mile from the town centre. As a result, a link was built from the former Sheffield & Rotherham Line to the Great Central Railway line, allowing local trains to use a re-opened Rotherham Central station, at the same time recreating the flexibility to pass expresses that had been removed a few years earlier. Rotherham Masborough regained its suffix in the timetables (although the station signboards were not modified) and soldiered on for a few years with Sheffield-York trains stopping until eventual closure on 3 October 1988. Most of the station buildings were demolished in the early 1990s but the platforms still remain, and the line through the station is still used by express and freight services.

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