Retford Railway Station
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Retford Railway Station

Retford National Rail
The station in 2005
Local authorityBassetlaw
Coordinates53°18?54?N 0°56?53?W / 53.315°N 0.948°W / 53.315; -0.948Coordinates: 53°18?54?N 0°56?53?W / 53.315°N 0.948°W / 53.315; -0.948
Grid referenceSK701803
Station codeRET
Managed byLondon North Eastern Railway
Owned byNetwork Rail
Number of platforms4
DfT categoryC2
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2014/15Increase 0.456 million
- Interchange Steady 0.108 million
2015/16Increase 0.484 million
- Interchange Increase 0.113 million
2016/17Increase 0.507 million
- Interchange Increase 0.116 million
2017/18Steady 0.507 million
- Interchange Increase 0.121 million
2018/19Increase 0.520 million
- Interchange Decrease 0.101 million
Key datesOpened 1849 (1849)
National Rail - UK railway stations
  • Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Retford from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
Up Leeds express in 1954

Retford railway station is on the East Coast Main Line in the United Kingdom, serving the town of Retford, Nottinghamshire. 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[1] 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 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.


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.[2]

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.[3]

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,[] 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.



An InterCity 125 at the station following electrification.

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.[4]

Low Level

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).[5] 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.[6]

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).


  1. ^ Building of Retford Dive-under in 1964-5 '; Retrieved 17 June 2009
  2. ^ Retford station facilities National Rail Enquiries
  3. ^ Hall, Stanley (1990). The Railway Detectives. London: Ian Allan. p. 83. ISBN 0 7110 1929 0.
  4. ^ Table 26 National Rail timetable, May 2017
  5. ^ Northern Franchise Improvements - DfT
  6. ^ "Train times Sheffield to Gainsborough to Lincoln/Cleethorpes 19 May 2019 to 14 December 2019" (PDF). Arriva Rail North Ltd. Retrieved 2019.
  • Dow, G., (1959) Great Central, Volume One: The Progenitors (1813-1863) , Shepperton: Ian Allan Ltd.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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