Barrow Hill Roundhouse is not just a railway museum. It is a modern rail maintenance facility and an innovative venue for both railway-themed events and non-railway activities.
past, present and future...
Steeped in Midland Railway history, the former steam Roundhouse was built in 1870 to house the locomotives that served the nearby Staveley Works.
Locomotive development and technology moved forward rapidly after the Second World War and the last of hundreds of steam locomotives which had worked from Barrow Hill finally left in 1965. They were replaced by diesels which hauled huge numbers of coal trains from the nearby North Derbyshire coalfields.
By the late 1980s, however, coal’s future as a major fuel source was in decline. The future looked bleak for the Barrow Hill depot and in 1991 British Rail decided to close it. On 9th February of that year the depot closed its doors and 121 years of continuous use finally came to an end.
And that would have been the end of the story, were it not for a group of dedicated railway preservationists. They persuaded Chesterfield Borough Council to have the building listed to prevent its demolition. Chesterfield Council then purchased the site and organised the necessary major repairs before leasing it to the newly formed Barrow Hill Engine Shed Society.
Today, Barrow Hill attracts thousands of visitors to its special events, often featuring working steam and diesel locomotives. No visit would be complete without a ride on the train from the purpose-built station and platform, which is also used as the starting point or destination for excursion trains using the UK national rail network.
Above: GBRF launches its biomass wagon in the Roundhouse.