Tracking down the past

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Bawtry railway station on the Great Northern Railway main line between Retford and Doncaster opened on September 4, 1849.

The main buildings were on the town (down) side of the line. A small portico led to the booking office at the front and the wooden platform shelters were typical of the GNR.

Bawtry station closed to passengers on October 6, 1958 and on April 30, 1971 goods facilities were withdrawn. The buildings and long platforms have been swept away but a couple of goods yard buildings are now houses.

In a report to Doncaster Borough Council in September 2008 land near the station has been protected should the site be required as a new station.

n The first railway station to be built at Finningley, near Doncaster was 500 yards (460 m) west of the level crossing on the main Bawtry to Thorne road (A614).

The second station, on the Doncaster to Lincoln line was still in South Yorkshire and served Blaxton and Finningley.

It was east of the level crossing, two miles (3 km) west of the county boundary. The Disused Station website states a Finningley Station opened on July 15, 1867 but it is unclear which one.

Although the station closed to passengers on September 11, 1961 it was opened specially for trains from Doncaster to the Finningley Air Show in the early 1960s and on one occasion to serve the Royal Train when The Queen visited the airbase.

Today only the derelict platforms remain, along with the former station buildings (which are now a house) and the signal box, which remains in use to operate the level crossing.

The Disused Station website says: “Following the closure of the ex-V bomber base in April 1995 the airfield was redeveloped as Robin Hood Airport, reopening on April 28, 2005 to serve Doncaster and Sheffield. Doncaster Council is now backing a proposal for a new Finningley station to serve the airport which should be open by 2011. In the long term the council are proposing to build a spur into the airport. The new station will be on the west side of the Auckley level crossing, one mile west of the earlier station.”

n Edlington Halt’s full title, as shown on the station name board was Edlington for Balby Doncaster (with the words ‘for’ and ‘Doncaster’ in lettering half size compared to the others).

It was a small railway station at the eastern terminus of the Dearne Valley Railway and built to serve the mining village of Edlington and the Doncaster suburbs of Warmsworth and Balby.

Like others on the Dearne Valley the station consisted of a bed of sleepers set at track level with an old L&Y coach body lit by a couple of gas lamps for a waiting shelter.

The large station sign was removed in the late 1920s and replaced by a simple Edlington. Opening for passengers on June 3, 1912, the station operated restricted services from September 10, 1951 and closed completely after June 1963.

The passenger service was originally operated by a Hughes-designed ‘railmotor’ which was fitted with vacuum-operated retractable steps, to save on platform building.

n The original Conisbrough station, near Doncaster, was 150 yards (140 m) east of the present one and had two sets of station buildings, one for the South Yorkshire Railway, its owners, and another for the Midland Railway, the operators of the first passenger service. Both had their own staff.

This earlier station was opened on November 10, 1849, the only station on the new line linking Doncaster and Swinton.

This was closed in 1884 with the opening of the new building, erected by the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway.

The buildings were in that company’s ‘double pavilion’ style and all except the former Station Master’s house, on the Sheffield-bound platform, have been demolished.

Conisbrough station had three platforms with the Doncaster-bound platform being an island. Nowadays it has two platforms and is served only by stopping services.

During Doncaster race meetings this platform was used for ticket collection to avoid congestion at Doncaster. In more recent times this platform was used for excursions.

Conisbrough station’s most famous resident was film actor Donald Pleasance, whose father was station master in the 1940s