Chesterfield is a town in Derbyshire that once possessed three main line stations and a myriad of industrial railway lines that is now in the present day reduced to one main line and one passenger station separated and isolated from the town centre by the A60 bypass road.
Compared to the map of the Chesterfield area at the height of the railway era you can see the radical change that the area has undergone and the substantial reduction in its railway infrastructure.
Chesterfield’s three main stations were Chesterfield Market Place (green), Chesterfield Central (blue) and Chesterfield Midland (brown). All three railway lines coming into Chesterfield met at Horns Bridge where the transport infrastructure and the natural world converged in a complicated layout.
Horns Bridge saw the following items converge:
- The River Hipper
- The River Rother
- The A61
- The A617
- The Great Central Railway
- Numerous footpaths, under bridges and over bridges
- The Midland Railway
- ex LD&ECR Line to Lincoln
The photographs below show Horns Bridge development and decline over the years till its present day situation where the road layout is now dominant and the Midland Main Line is the last railway line to survive from the once extensive network of railways that converged at this point.
Chesterfield Market Place
The station opened in 1897 by the Lancashire Derbyshire & East Coast Railway as part of an ambitious scheme for a cross-country railway from Warrington to Sutton-on-Sea, financial problems and the number of ambitious and costly infrastructure projects required meant the line never progressed further then the completed section of railway line from Chesterfield to Lincoln.
The Great Central Railway took over the line in 1907 meaning Chesterfield had the Market Place and Central Station under GCR ownership with Chesterfield Midland under the Midland railways control.
Passenger traffic ceased in 1951 with goods traffic following in 1957 and demolition of the station site in 1973. Today the station site is buried under modern development and little evidence remains west of Horns Bridge of the old LD&ECR.
It could be said that Chesterfield Central was an oddity in railway station terms as it sat on a loop line off the Great Central Main Line diverging at Staveley Station and rejoining the main line at Heath Junction.
The reasons for the GCR main line bypassing Chesterfield was due to the Midland Railway already occupying the best alignment for a railway heading north to Sheffield and the large detour the GCR main line would have had to take to serve Chesterfield reducing overall speeds and journey times from London to the North.
Chesterfield Central opened in 1892 and closed in 1963 with almost all traces of the station site along with the former track bed cleared away as part of the building of Chesterfield’s Inner Relief Road in 1973.
The tunnel to the south of the station which took the loop line under Chesterfield to reemerge at Hollis Lane, before passing under the Midland Main Line at Horns Bridge has survived and can still be seen if
you know where to look.
The northern portal which would have led directly into the station is now behind the bypass retaining wall but the southern portal is still accessible for those wishing to see this hidden part of Chesterfield’s history.
Chesterfield’s first railway station, opened as part of the North Midland Railway between Derby and Leeds in 1840. As traffic increased, this proved too small, and in 1870 the Midland Railway replaced it with a
larger station slightly further north.
In 1951 it was renamed Chesterfield Midland, largely to distinguish it from the nearby Chesterfield Central station on the Staveley – Heath loop line of the former Great Central Railway. However, when that station closed it reverted to plain ‘Chesterfield’ in 1964 and remains thus today.
The station was substantially rebuilt in the mid-1960’s and has been revamped again more