Tag Archives: Leicestershire

Some Early Lines, Old Railway Companies, The Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway

Some Early Lines

Old Railway Companies

Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Railway

58The Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Railway was the only joint MR/L&NWR project. Market Bosworth station, now used as a garage, was, at this time, also the southern limit of the Battlefield Line, which aimed to extend along the track-bed beyond the station towards Shenton and Bosworth battlefield.

The London & North Western Railway proposed a line from Ashby to Nuneaton via Market Bosworth in conjunction with the Nuneaton – Wigston line opened in 1864, but the Midland Railway had already obtained powers for an identical line in 1846, which had lapsed at the time of the purchase of the Leicester & Swannington Railway. Now, however, it revived the plans the result being a joint project, authorised on 1 September 1873, was worked by both partners, becoming part on the London, Midland & Scottish Railway in 1923. Three miles of track-bed between Shackerstone and Market Bosworth are now part of the preserved ‘Battlefield Line’.

Market Bosworth 1905Midland Railway train behind 0-4-4 tank No. 2081 at Market Bosworth in around 1905

The Battlefield Line is the last remaining part of the former Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway which was opened in 1873. It runs from Shackerstone via Market Bosworth to Shenton in Leicestershire and is operated by the Shackerstone Railway Society.

Shackerstone Station is at the northern end of the line, and is the headquarters of the railway with museum, Victorian tea room souvenir shop, loco shed and main rolling stock located here. There is ample free parking, and the Ashby Canal is just a stones throw away.

Our remarkable railway captures the very essence of a country line, with steam, diesel and railcar train services along with small stations meandering along a single track line. It really does convey something of the feeling and atmosphere of heady days past.

For anyone who retains a sense of nostalgia for times gone by, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at this place – one of Leicestershire’s best kept secrets, not just a train ride but a journey into history as well.

DSCF9028 DSCF9035 DSCF9056

Some Old Lines – The Great Central Railway

Some Old Lines

Great Central Railway


QuornQuorn & Woodhouse Station

The Great Central Railway (GCR) was a railway company in England which came into being when the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway changed its name in 1897 in anticipation of the opening in 1899 of its London Extension (see Great Central Main Line). On 1 January 1923, it was grouped into the London and North Eastern Railway. Today, small sections of the main line in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire are preserved; see Great Central Railway (preserved). Several other sections of GCR lines are still in public operation.

BelgraveBelgrave & Birstall Station

Nowadays the Great Central Railway (GCR) is a heritage railway in Leicestershire, named after the company that originally built this stretch of railway.
The GCR is currently Britain’s only double track mainline heritage railway, with 5.25 miles (8.45 km) of working double track, period signalling, locomotives and rolling stock. It runs for 8.25 miles (13.28 km) in total from the large market town of Loughborough to a new terminus just north of Leicester.

RothleyRothley Station

I’ve come across a few photos of old stations on the Great Central Railway.
The Great Central Railway was one of Britain’s biggest closures. The line from Sheffield to London was built at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries and designed for high speed running. It was built to the continental loading gauge as the entrepreneurs of the Great Central had ideas of building a channel tunnel and running through-trains to the centre of the country. The line was built on a grand scale and the architecture was well known.
Typical country stations were Quorn, Rothley and Belgrave & Birstall. Built as island platforms, the stations were more economical to staff and operate.

EPSON scanner imageBelgrave & Birstall Station
View southward, towards Leicester, London etc.; ex-GC Sheffield – Nottingham Leicester – London Main line (closed mainly 5/9/66). Station closed 4/3/63, but reopened by Great Central Railway as ‘Leicester North’, being southern terminus of restored line from Loughborough (Central), which reached here on 3/7/91. The photograph shows the station in the original form typical of ‘London Extension’ stations – an island platform accessed from entrance buildings on a bridge.
© Copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Canal News – Experts sought to help steer future of canals and rivers in the Midlands

IWA LogoCanal NewsCanal & River Trust Logo

Experts sought to help steer future of canals and rivers in the Midlands
People living in the Midlands are being called on to help guide the future development of the waterways at the very heart of the nation’s historic canal and river network.

Lock 6, Atherstone, Coventry Canal

Lock 6, Atherstone, Coventry Canal

This is a tremendous opportunity for people with ideas and energy to play a leading role in bringing others together to embrace their local canal or river”
Charlotte Atkins, chair of the
We are calling for people in Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire and north Warwickshire to come forward and help shape the future of their local waterways.
The Trust is recruiting three new members for its Central Shires Waterway Partnership, which plays a key role in getting more people involved in these vital green spaces and ensuring they boost tourism and employment.
Nine people currently sit on the Partnership, drawn from different interests such as boating, canoeing and angling, as well as wider regeneration, media and community engagement backgrounds. The three new members being sought will ideally have experience and expertise in the areas of health and well-being, local authority, social enterprise, volunteering and the natural environment.
Charlotte Atkins, chair of the Central Shires Waterways Partnership, said: “Our waterways are at the very heart of the nation’s historic canal network and as a result they’ve been instrumental in shaping our towns and cities and they remain an enduring reminder of our thriving industrial past.
“As a partnership we believe that it’s now time to put the waterways back at the heart of our communities and use them as a means of tackling some of the great challenges that our region faces. Our waterways have huge potential to boost the Midlands’ economy and to help people lead healthier lifestyles, to gain new skills and simply just to feel a sense of pride in where they live.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for people with ideas and energy to play a leading role in bringing others together to embrace their local canal or river and help create better waterways and closer, healthier, communities.”
The roles are voluntary with agreed expenses reimbursed, and will involve approximately two days a month. Appointments are for three years. For more information please contact waterway manager Darren Green on 0303 040 4040 or darren.green@canalrivertrust.org.uk
Find out more about these partnership vacancies

We want your views on our towpaths
We’re currently consulting on how towpaths are shared to make visiting waterways more enjoyable for everyone.

Apsley, Grand Union Canal

Apsley, Grand Union Canal

Our aim is to improve people’s experience of using towpaths in England and Wales by gaining a more detailed understanding of the ways towpaths are used – whether by boaters, walkers, joggers, cyclists or anglers – and to attract more visitors to regularly use and enjoy the waterways.
We’re inviting people to share their views through an online survey, on anything from signage and behaviour to suggestions for access and surface improvements.
The National Towpath Use Policy will set out our approach to managing safer sharing of towpaths including what we will do and what visitors can do. For example, it will balance the needs of people with the need to conserve and protect heritage and the environment; also how to encourage visitors to better understand the range of towpath activities, be considerate of others and make a difference to these shared spaces.
To find out more about our proposals and give your feedback please visit http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/about-us/consultations/current-consultations


Some Early Lines Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway (Including the Battlefield Line, Shackerstone)

Some Early Lines

Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway

(Including the Battlefield Line, Shackerstone)


A Midland train behind a 2-2-2 locomotive at Market Bosworth station, close to the site of the Battle of Bosworth Field  (spellerweb.net

The Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway was a pre-grouping railway company in the English Midlands. Construction began in 1869 and the railway was opened in 1873. The railway was built to serve the Leicestershire coalfield. It linked Moira and Coalville Town with Nuneaton.


Until the 1923 grouping the railway was jointly owned by the Midland Railway and the London and North Western Railway. It then became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, which withdrew passenger services in 1931.Nationalisation in 1948 made the railway part of British Railways, which closed the line to freight traffic in 1971.


Midland Railway train behind 0-4-4 tank No. 2081 at Market Bosworth in around 1905   (spellerweb.net


BattlefieldPart of the line between Shackerstone and Shenton has been re-opened as the Battlefield Line Railway, a heritage railway.

DSCF9046Shackerstone Station.

Your journey starts from this wonderful authentic example of a Victorian country station which houses a museum of rare and interesting artefacts, with a special emphasis on the area’s railway history.  Step into the quaint station booking hall where you buy your tickets and on colder days you can enjoy the warmth of a real coal fire.

DSCF9051While you’re waiting for the next train, visit the Victorian Tea Rooms and the ‘Fund Stall’ shop on platform 1, or the souvenir shop on platform 2.  Whilst on board why not sample the ‘on train’ buffet serving meals or snacks, with a variety of hot and cold drinks.


Once the guard blows his whistle, the train leaves on its five mile journey, running for most of the way alongside the Ashby canal, meandering its way past small villages and farms to the newly re-opened Market Bosworth Station.  This picturesque small market town, in the heart or rural Leicestershire, is a walk from the station, and hosts a range of antique shops and galleries.

2013_07090143The award-winning Shenton Station is the southern terminus of the line and the platform building you see once stood at Humberstone Road, Leicester, from where it was demolished and transported to Shenton and rebuilt, brick by brick.

Shenton StationShenton Station, Leicestershire

Shenton Station is located in the centre of Bosworth Field, the site of the last great medieval battle in 1485,and the final battle of the War of the Roses.

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved] © Copyright Roger Kidd and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.