The South Yorkshire Joint Railway (OL 33)
The author’s interest in the South Yorkshire Joint Railway and the coalfield it serves, stems from a childhood spent in Doncaster and Rotherham, frequently walking and cycling close to the line and through the villages it served. The line opened as late as 1909, had withdrawn its regular passenger service as early as 1929, but is still a very important mineral line. All this stimulated the author’s interest and led him to write the first history up to 1970. This revised and much enlarged edition brings the story to 2001.
The SYJR kept very detailed operating and financial records, separate from those of its five (later two) parent companies. These enabled the early management committees to keep accurate records of the large profits (coal traffic) and small losses (passenger traffic) of the single branch line, which unlike others (at least until 1940) were not totally submerged within the accounts of a parent company.
Thus it is possible to record in detail the unsuccessful struggle to operate a profitable passenger service, leading to its eventual and early withdrawal. This experience clearly indicates that unprofitable passenger services existed even in the so-called ‘golden age’ before 1914.
The losses from the passenger service were far outweighed by the profits from coal, which were the line’s raison d’etre. Since the last great coal dispute in 1985, this industry has contracted considerably. Of the eight collieries using the SYJR in the 1930s, only Maltby, Harworth and Rossington were open in 2001, but the last has almost ceased to use the line. The prosperity of the SYJR, if not its very survival, is still closely bound up with Maltby and Harworth. By reason of this mutual inter-dependence, both the rail and coal industries have been given virtually equal study and analysis here.
Softback (A5 format), 208 pages, 165 photographs, maps and plans, full colour card cover.
Condition: Very Good
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Updated: 29 December 2021