…tothe storyof Britain’s only surviving roundhouse engine shed.
Thereare very fewplaces left in the UK that retain theintoxicating atmosphere andfeelofasteam-age locomotive depot. Barrow Hill Roundhouse,near Chesterfieldisone of them; notonly is it thecountry’slastsurviving, intact roundhouse depot, it is once againa thrivingcentrefor railway maintenance andengineering. Itsrevival and expansion wasbarelyimaginablein1996 when thebuilding wasaderelictshell, andin1991had been just 48 hours from demolition andredevelopment.However, thankstothe tenacious effortsofasmall band of localvolunteers,led by Mervyn Allcock, itsfuturewas notonlysecured, butthe site hasbecome one of the most importantcentres in the countryfor the railway heritage movement and, even more impressively, forthe main line railway.
As you’ll seeoverthe following pages, the depotwas built to serve the local coal andironindustry,primarily theoncevast StaveleyCoal&IronCo. worksthat dominated the area. Formorethana century, it went aboutits work outofthe public eye, save forthe oddBRopen day in the 1970sand 80s.But,bythe timeit closed in 1991,ithad become notableas the onlydepotofits kind still usedfor its originalpurpose–and thereforeaunique pieceofBritain’sindustrialheritagethat hadtobesaved.
Over the last 20 yearsBarrowHill hasfoundanew purpose, serving the privatisedrailindustryinmanydifferent ways, providingfacilitiesfor commercial companiessuch as HarryNeedle Railroad Co., GB Railfreight,Direct Rail Services, Colas,TCL,Pindari andeven the Belmond ‘BritishPullman’luxury train, as well asahome forgroups preserving steam, diesel andelectric locomotives forfuturegenerations.
Increasingly,it is also playingalarge part in the local community, bringing visitorstoapartofDerbyshirethathas been badly affected by the closure of localheavy industries. Beer festivals, rock concerts, playsand othercultural events bringanew audiencetothe roundhouse andallowthemtoappreciate the unique atmosphere of thisMidland Railway survivor.
September 2017 sees thebeginning of the next chapter in thedepot’shistory, when it reopensaftera£1.3-million refit thatwill add newvisitor facilities andevengreater links withthe local community. Having savedthe building in 1991,and again(just)in1996, Mervyn Allcockand the rest of the Barrow Hill team are nowworking to secure itslongterm future andensurethatthe depot continues to thriveoverthe next few decades.
004 Gallery 012 TheSteam Era, 1870-1965 024 Barrow Hill Icon:
The‘Half-Cab’ 027 TheBRdieselera,1965-91 036 Classic BR Open Days 040 C l osure & D ere l i c t i on, 1 9 9 1 97 044 Rescue&Revival,1997-200 0 050 MervynAllcock Interview 058 Branching Out:
TheSpringwell Collierybra n ch 064 ANew Homefor Deltics 066 Barrow Hill Signalbox 068 Memorable Events:
‘Fab Four’Gala 070 Rail AleFestival 072 N a t i o n a l T r e a s u r e s :
NRM@ BH 076 Gallery 082 Preserving Britain’sDiesel &
ElectricHeritage 090 MemorableEvents:
Pacific Power 094 Main Line Adventures 098 MemorableEvents:
Rail Power 100 Bab y DelticPro j ect 104 Tornado at Barrow Hill 106 Commercial Work 114 Rockin’ theRoundhouse 120 TheMasterList–
everylocomotive to visit Barrow Hill 1997-2017
BELOW:Railfreight finale: Shortlybeforethe depot wasclosedbyBR,atrioofClass 58s–Nos. 58042, 58025 and 58030restinthe roundhouse between trips from localcollieriestopower stations. BHESSCOLLECTION