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South Yorkshire Joint Railway was a committee formed in 1903, between the Great Central Railway (GCR), the Great Northern Railway (GNR), the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (L&YR), the Midland Railway (MR) and the North Eastern Railway (NER) to oversee the construction of a new railway in the Doncaster area of South Yorkshire, England. The five companies had equal rights over the line, each of the companies regularly working trains over it.
As one of only two railways in England with 5 partners the South Yorkshire Joint Railway was the most "joint" of joint railways.
The line ran from Kirk Sandall Junction on the Great Central's Doncaster-Cleethorpes line to a junction with the Great Central and Midland Joint Railway, just south of Dinnington. The N.E.R. had access over the G.C.R. from Hull, the M.R. had access from the Nottingham-Worksop line, over G.C.R. metals from Shireoaks, the L&Y joined at St. Catherine's Junction from their Dearne Valley Railway and the G.N.R. had connections to the south of Doncaster. As opened the S.Y.J.R. was 21.25 miles (34km) in length, including its colliery branch lines and connections to the several lines it crossed in its path. It opened to freight on 1 January 1909, and to passengers on 1 December 1910.
In the grouping of 1923, the Midland and L&YR were grouped into the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS), whilst the GCR, GER and GNR were all grouped into the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). It thus remained a LMS(2/5)-LNER(3/5) joint line until nationalisation into British Railways in 1948.
The line opened to serve ten collieries and remains open today, although only three of the collieries remain.
There were three stations on the railway, these being Dinnington and Laughton, Maltby and Tickhill and Wadworth, all of these being situated away from the villages in their title. Passenger trains were originally operated by the Great Central Railway and the Great Northern Railway and ran between Doncaster and Shireoaks, calling at all stations on the S.Y.J.R. and Anston, on the Midland and Great Central Joint line. This joint passenger service operated for just one year before the G.N.R. left for the G.C.R. to continue on its own. From April 1920 the service was extended to Worksop. Passenger traffic over the line was never great, the service was suspended from April 1926 to April 1927 due to the General Strike and finally closed on 2nd December 1929.
The route used encounters hilly country, and there are several large viaducts, and a rising gradient for most of its journey.