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Norwood End Tunnel Portal Sign                                                                         On loan to Barrow Hill



















In 1868, the Midland Railway opened a short branch from its main line at Killamarsh to serve West Kiveton Colliery. A connection was made to Norwood Colliery a year later and the line was extended to reach Kiveton Park Colliery in 1878.

This last section of railway demanded the driving of a 300-yard tunnel to penetrate a ridge at Norwood.

Closure came in May 1961. In November 1967, the M1 motorway opened on an alignment that took it directly over the tunnel which resulted in the loss of its westernmost portion. The east portal has also been buried under landfill.
























The western portal of the tunnel was still visible c 1970, by which time the line had long been dismantled, and the western entrance may have been blocked up. The M1 motorway runs over the tunnel a few yards east of the site of the western entrance. The former Norwood Colliery is located astride the county boundary a short distance west of the tunnel. The railway bridge over the A618 road here was in situ until circa 1958. The tunnel was known as 'Norwood End Tunnel' on the Midland Railway access from Killamarsh to Kiveton Park Colliery, opened in 1868 and closed in 1961. This tunnel, along with the Norwood Canal Tunnel on the Chesterfield Canal (which runs parallel a few yards to the south), was blocked under the boundaries of the M1 motorway, when that was built (in about 1968). It can be seen from the picture that the brickwork of the tunnel has been supported by 'rail rings', no doubt because of mining subsidence. Because of landscaping, there is now no visible sign of either end of this tunnel,

























It is not an exaggeration to say that the gradient between Killamarsh and the tunnel was severe and demanded the very best from the driver and fireman of the locomotive, particularly in adverse weather conditions. Even with a banking engine working flat out at the rear there was no guarantee that the train would make it to the top of the incline. Descending the bank would often pose even more problems. Despite pinning down some of the wagon brakes prior to the descent, all too often trains would slip on the greasy rails and gather speed towards the Junction. Fortunately, such a situation was catered for by the signalman at Killamarsh. On being informed that a loaded coal train had left one of the pits, he would set his signals on the up main line to danger and thus stop trains entering the block. He would then set the points to allow the coal train straight onto the main line. To warn the signalman of a runaway, the driver would continuously blow the locomotive’s whistle. 


The No 10 would have been in the bridge numbering system applied to the branch and a quick look at the Ordnance Survey 25-inch/1 mile map reveals that it is about right from Killamarsh Branch Junction, allowing for some small culverts being numbered.  It also indicates that your sign must post-date 1899, as to reach the number 10 it is necessary to include the LDECR’s Beighton Branch which crossed over the MR line at the Killamarsh end and opened in 1900.

Mark Higginson, Scanner/Indexer -

Derbyshire Record Office    Derbyshire County Council   County Hall

Norwood Tunnel Location
norwood 2
Norwood with sign
Norwood End Tunnel (1)_edited

The outline of the old cutting can be clearly seen before it dives under the ridge now topped by the M1 motorway .  The Villages shown above are Wales and Kiveton Park

Two images of the tunnel portals, both assumed to be the eastern side as the western side was buried fairly soon after closure.  Our sign can be seen to the right of the RH photograph.  Interestingly the colours seem to have been reversed, white writing on black on our sign yet black writing on white on the photograph.  Might be interesting to try a test to see if it has been repainted, but we won't.  Thanks to and for permission to reproduce these two photographs

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Department for Transport

UK Government property asset - Freehold/Feuhold/Fee Simple property located in SHEFFIELD (Yorkshire and the Humber) used by BRITISH RAILWAYS BOARD (RESIDUARY) LTD - BURDENSOME ESTATE (Department for Transport). Property is 0.0082 m2 and tenure is Freehold/Feuhold/Fee Simple.




Structure 16051



S26 5LQ


All data is sourced from under the Open Government License.


DepartmentDepartment for Transport


Region      Yorkshire and the Humber

Department Reference     KPC/10

Description                       TUNNEL - PUBLIC ROAD

Property Area                   0.0082 m2

Floor Area Type               Ha

Tenure Type                     Freehold/Feuhold/Fee Simple

Holding Type                    Land Only

Just in case you felt like making a bid, here are the official details...


Totley Tunnel is a 6,230-yard (3.5 mi; 5.7 km) tunnel on the former Midland Railway Manchester-Sheffield line between Totley on the outskirts of Sheffield and Grindleford in Derbyshire, England. It was completed in 1893 and was the second longest railway tunnel in the UK. (The older Severn Tunnel is 1.3 kilometres (0.81 mi) longer.) After the two long High Speed 1 tunnels opened in 2007 it became the fourth longest mainline railway tunnel in the UK.


The contractor for 10.5 miles (16.9 km) of the railway, including the tunnel, was Thomas Oliver of Horsham, West Sussex.

Work began in 1888 with the construction of three brick-built surveying towers along the proposed line of tunnel, followed by a number of vertical shafts to the level of the rails. The Duke of Rutland had decreed that no more than one ventilation shaft should be sunk through his moors (and that work should cease from August to October, during the grouse shooting season). Initially four permanent and three temporary shafts were sunk near to the Totley end. The latter were cut through shale, and water was encountered in the first eight feet. The permanent ones took longer, encountering beds of ganister, coal, and rock.


As the initial 10 by 9 feet (3.05 m × 2.74 m) headings were driven outwards from the base of each shaft, water flow increased to some 2.25 million imperial gallons per day (10,200 m3/d or 118 L/s). At the Padley (Grindleford) end, the situation was little better, work stopping for several weeks until a drain was laid. Then at about 2,000 yards (1,800 m) a spring was encountered which flooded the workings at five thousand imperial gallons an hour (23 m3/h or 6.3 L/s). A raft had to be used to inspect the workings. Shortly after this the shale became drier and work proceeded toward Totley, the headings finally meeting in 1892.


The tunnel was the proving ground of a number of boring machines for the shot holes, using gelignite to blast the rock. No limit was set on the amount, and in all some 163 long tons (166 t; 183 short tons) were used. The atmosphere in the workings was hot, as well as humid, with compressed air used for ventilation, though, for a time at the Padley end, a turbine was installed in the Burbage Brook to drive a fan.


During the construction of the tunnel a natural cavern was discovered that was several hundred feet in area so it was decided to incorporate this into the design and a large air shaft was installed to the surface at this point. The entrance to the cavern can still be seen now on the Up side (towards Sheffield) of the tunnel half way through.


Because of the damp conditions, there were outbreaks of typhoid, in addition to diphtheria, smallpox and scarlet fever, not helped by the fact that accommodation was scarce, and the workers were living often twenty to thirty in a house. Working 24-hour shifts, as soon as one man got out of his bed, another would take his place, with little in the way of washing or sanitary facilities.


Because of its length, in addition to the Midland's normal block system, signal wires were installed which, when cut, caused alarms to ring in the signal boxes at each end. The same system was used in the shorter Cowburn and Clay Cross Tunnels.


Taken from an article in Wikipedia

Totley Tunnel Portal sign from the Grindleford end                                             On loan to Barrow Hill

Barrow Hill crews used to work trains through this tunnel.  It was considered at the time to be difficult because of the uphill gradient over part of its length and the consistatly wet and slippery track conditions.  Drivers were always fighting to retain traction and sometimes, in a smoke filled poorly ventilated tunnel, the only way sometimes to check if progress was being made was to scrape a firing shovel along the wall.   Crews were glad to reach the end, often struggling with heavy freight trains for over 30 minutes.  Described by some as 'Dantes inferno' with the relentless need to keep the fire built up, the light of the fire reflected in the heavy smoke, the constant reflected noise of the hardworking engine and the ocasional shudder from wheel slip.

The sign was rescued when it was being replaced by a more modern sign by one of our members, Howard Ward from nearby Bamford.

totley tunel sign
totley tunnel painting
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