Barrow Hill Roundhouse Railway Centre, Chesterfield

4.7
#4 of 6 in Historic Sites in Chesterfield
Barrow Hill Roundhouse is the last surviving railway roundhouse in the United Kingdom with an operational turntable. Built in 1870, it was threatened with demolition in 1991 when the site was closed by British Rail. It was saved by a group of dedicated volunteers who have transformed it into a premier railway venue.

The Roundhouse is open to the general public every weekend except during the Christmas and New Year holiday period. It is also the venue for several major events every year and attracts over 30,000 visitors annually. As well as the turntable and unique sheer legs (lifting gear), it has a changing display of steam and diesel locomotives and other rolling stock, a collection of artefacts and memorabilia, and an operational signal box and short running line. The Roundhouse was awarded Museum Accreditation by the Museums Libraries and Archives Council in 2010. Barrow Hill Roundhouse is also home to the Deltic Preservation Society.

The site is connected to the national railway network and this has encouraged several commercial rail companies to base their activities at Barrow Hill, generating over 40 jobs and making a valuable contribution to the local economy. Clients include Network Rail, DRS, VSOE (operators of the Orient Express), Freightliner, Harry Needle Railroad Company, Colas, NewRail (railway research facility affiliated to Newcastle University) and Intertrain.

With good rail and road connections, a large car park and on-site catering, the Roundhouse is a popular choice for railway industry demonstrations and product launches. It is also an interesting and different venue for corporate away days.
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Barrow Hill Roundhouse Railway Centre Reviews
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113 reviews
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4.8
TripAdvisor
  • August 9, 2017
    Being an ex driver and local I can recommend this place to all railway enthusiasts it's now run by volunteers and a trust which is a credit to them all they also have a website which is well worth loo...  more »
  • July 27, 2017
    Very atmospheric and historic old building containing a working turntable and a large collection of steam locomotives. We were here for the excellent Rail Ale festival which is a great 'boys with toys...  more »
  • May 19, 2017
    According to website, the site (currently closed for building work) "reopens temporarily for Rail Ale". Although the roundhouse itself was open, with 4 steam locos in place but obscured by Rail Ale ma...  more »
Google
  • As one of the performers at the Rail Ale Festival 2017 I can only really comment on that so on that basis........ The Roundhouse itself is, as you would expect, large and probably when filled with locomotives quite spectacular. During the festival itself there were only actually three in there. Populated with real ale and cider drinkers, it proved to be a good venue with one caveat. The floors are cobbled so some of the more unsteady on their feet had to take extra care. I've no idea what it is like when open to the public normally but I would pay a visit as a punter just to find out.
  • Very interesting place one of the last working roundhouses. Its not just steam there is some great diesel engines too. We went for the annual beer festival. Plenty of choice, live music. it was mint
  • I went to the annual beer festival and it's always a good atmosphere set amongst the steam engines and I m not really a train fan but if you are then it's worth a visit just to see them.
  • I was dragged along kicking and screaming to this rail ale festival which was my first but definitely not last event of this type. Brilliant venue and probably spoilt me for most others.
  • Best place on earth for railway locomotives. Must be visited without fail.

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