Mansfield's extensive railway system

Photo:Mansfield Station today

Mansfield Station today

Photo:Quarry Lane viaduct

Quarry Lane viaduct

Photo:The wharf on the Cromford Canal

The wharf on the Cromford Canal

Coal was unloaded from the Mansfield rail line and transferred to barges

Photo:Remarkable early rail can be seen in Mansfield Museum

Remarkable early rail can be seen in Mansfield Museum

Photo:Lucky ponies getting a lift back to Mansfield once the trucks had been unloaded

Lucky ponies getting a lift back to Mansfield once the trucks had been unloaded

Photo:Mansfield Station in the 1990s

Mansfield Station in the 1990s

It was briefly a pub called 'Brunels'

By Tony Clement



Once thought of as the largest town in England without a railway station, Mansfield was brought back onto the passenger railway system in the 1990s  after a thirty year break.

The Mansfield railway system of today is a pale shadow of what it once was in the early 1900s, some of this can still be seen today if you know where to look.

A story in the 1920s was that you could stand in Mansfield Marketplace, take any road out of the town, and within 5 miles you would have to pass under a railway bridge.

Some  people may remember the railway bridges, firstly on the A60 to Nottingham you had to pass under three, up Albert Street was the 1875 Midand railway viaduct, still in use, and two long gone bridges on Nottingham Road, one where Pizza Hutt now stands, carrying the former Mansfield Railway then Great Central Railway over Nottingham Road, the remains of this line can be seen in Titchfield Park as it is ran on an embankment behind the trees on the south side of the park, the stone wall is still there behind the trees.

The second bridge fifty yards up the road now where Halfords stands was a brick arch bridge carrying the Mansfield to Southwell line, you can still walk on the old track bed.

Most of the roads out of town were crossed by a railway bridge, most of them long demolished, Ratcliffe Gate adjacent to the Brown Cow pub had a railway bridge, look in the car park, and what remains of the abutments can be seen.

To go up Chesterfield Road on the A617 you would have to get to Pleasley before going under two railway bridges, roughly where the roundabout near Pleasley Colliery is now.

Sutton Road is probably the only road out of town that does not or never had a bridge of a railway crossing over it.

Mansfield’s superb viaduct that crosses the town is the structure most visitors remember, but the town once had three and if you include one of the oldest viaducts in the country at Sutton Reservoir, four.

Quarry Lane was crossed twice by two early stone viaducts, one still exists and can be walked over as part of a very pleasant walk in Quarry Lane nature reserve, well worth a visit. It has five arches and was refurbished in the 1980s to make a footpath, and is a listed structure.

The other viaduct was blown up in the 1970s, part of the Mansfield Southwell line, nothing exists now, this was further up Quarry Lane, towards Nottingham Road.

Also go and look at one of the oldest viaducts in the country, Kings Mill viaduct, in the top corner of Sutton Reservoir, dated 1817, built for the Mansfield to Pinxton railway, you can still walk across it today.

Other large railway bridges were on Littleworth, Windsor Road, Woodhouse Road, Toothill Lane, Bath Lane to list a few.

In the 1920s Mansfield railway station and goods facilities were extensive, all of Portland Retail Park and what is now Burger King would have been railway sidings. Passenger facilities were quite large with three platforms covered by a roof, long gone, but the station buildings are more or less intact, as they were built.

The whole set up would have had 10 to 15 sidings for goods and coal plus engine sheds, private sidings, a cattle dock, turntable and carriage sidings, controlling all this were five signal boxes.

The other station in Mansfield was on Great Central Road just about where the police station is now, and was demolished in the 1970s

Bridges from this line spanned Pelham Street, Sandy Lane, a massive blue brick affair, and a very deep cutting under Sherwood Hall Road which was filled in with most of the spoil from the Mansfield ring road in the 1970s.

These are just a few of the remnants of a once extensive railway system in the town, all part of Nottinghamshire’s coal-carrying rail system, to get coal from the pit network, some companies duplicated lines, which made the system very complicated, but as part of our social history of Nottinghamshire, well worth a study.

This page was added by Tony Clement on 02/08/2017.
Comments about this page

I have a re-print of Bradshaws 1938 book, bought from a Library sale and gives the rail traffic throgh our area, very interesting reading. I lived next to the Mansfield-Worksop line and well remember the Milk train and Fish trains, always on time, you could set your clocks on their punctuality.

By Tom Shead
On 07/08/2017

Which line ran under bridge on hillsway crescent, because me and 10s of other kids used to gather on the embankment to get train numbers at around 6pm every day in the mid 60s, and some little tinkers used to put pennies on the line to get them flattened by the train.

By David Cooke
On 05/01/2021

David, the line that ran under a bridge on Hillsway Crescent, Mansfield, was the Great Central Railway line, then the LNER, it ran through a station on Great Central Road, where the police station is now, and through Titchfield Park across Nottingham Road and passed about where the cinema is now.

I think the train you are referring to in the 1960s was the fish train from Grimsby, which was always pulled by an engine not usually seen on this line, mainly a Britannia Pacific it would come through Mansfield at the same time every day, and all the local trainspotters would come to see if it was a named engine, this also turned into games of putting coins on the track, I can remember one account of the train crew turning a hosepipe on these lads as they went past to deter them.

Hardly anything remains of the line, but if you look on Quarry Lane nature reserve there are parts of it in a wooded valley, also the stone wall on the south side of Titchfield Park supported the embankment of the railway.

By anthony clement
On 06/01/2021

Rudyard Kipling that used to do the fish train a lot. We used to see it on the central in the cutting below the cutting near sutton metal box, the great northern line ran over it towards kirkby summit pit. Happy days. the Brown cow pub in Mansfield still has remains of bridge in car park {Great Central{ and Titchfield park has remnants

By Mick Green
On 01/02/2022

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