Along the former Leicester and Swannington Railway from West Bridge to Desford, 1960s.
Here there is a single photograph of a train on this branch which closed in April 1966, but more photographs of the infrastructure before it all disappeared.
Train between Leicester West Bridge and Desford Juncton
Robert Stephenson design lifting bridge over Grand Union Canal, West Bridge, 1965
1-of-18) 2-6-0 78028 approaches Mill Lane level crossing, Glenfield, with a train from Leicester West Bridge towards Desford Junction on the former Leicester and Swannington Railway, 22/2/64.
This photograph is from the second film through my first camera, an Instamatic 100. I had been hoping to photograph one of the ancient ex-Midland 2F 0-6-0 locomotives (see below), but these had recently been withdrawn to be replaced by two of these Standard 2-6-0s with cut-down cab so that they could travel through Glenfield Tunnel.
Since this was a simple camera and the day was dull the negative is very thin and over the years has become badly scratched. However with the help of a modern scanner and Photoshop a reasonable image has been produced which may be of interest.
2-of-18) Railway lifting bridge over Grand Union Canal, West Bridge, Leicester, 16/10/1965, here seen in a raised position. Built by the Leicester and Swannington Railway, it is said to be based on a design by Robert Stephenson. The bridge carried a branch from the main line, off to the right, to sidings at Soar Lane Old Wharf and Pingle Wharf, off to the left. Behind the lifting bridge is the ornate Soar Lane road bridge.
This bridge was removed and later rebuilt next to Abbey Pumping Station in Leicester. It was then moved again and rebuilt at Snibston Discovery Museum in Coalville, where after some years the wood (not all original) was starting to deteriorate. With the closure of the Snibston Museum the wood of the bridge was destroyed and the metal components were moved to a Leicester City Museums store. The metalwork has since been transferred to the Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre where the bridge is to be rebuilt.
3-of-18) Railway lifting bridge over the Grand Union Canal leading to sidings at the Soar Lane Old Wharf with its good shed straight ahead and the Pingle Wharf which was reached by a sharp turn to the left, West Bridge, Leicester, 16/10/1965.
Built by the Leicester and Swannington Railway, it was said to be based on a design by Robert Stephenson, and is here out of use and raised on wooden blocks. The bridge is counter-balanced by large weights at each corner so that it could be raised and lowered manually by a hand crank in the building on the left.
The sign on the bridge reads:
WAGONS OF GREATER
CAPACITY THAN 12 TONS
MUST NOT CROSS THIS
So movement of wagons across the bridge and into the sidings was by horse haulage, though in the last few years of use it is reported that an adapted tractor was used. Locomotives would have been too heavy and would not have crossed this bridge.
4-of-18) Railway lifting bridge over the Grand Union Canal leading from the main line to sidings and a warehouse behind the photographer, West Bridge, Leicester, 16/10/1965. Built by the Leicester and Swannington Railway, it is said to based on a design by Robert Stephenson, and is here out of use and raised on wooden blocks. There is interesting information about this bridge and its operation in the ‘General Notes’ section of the ‘Movable Bridges in the British Isles’ website on the page at http://www.movablebridges.org.uk/BridgePage.asp?BridgeNumber=1396.
5-of-18) The east portal of Glenfield Tunnel (the Leicester West Bridge end), Leicester and Swannington Railway, shortly after the track was taken up, 7/4/1968.
This portal was later sealed and buried. Houses now cover this area.
6-of-18) The east portal of Glenfield Tunnel (the Leicester West Bridge end), Leicester and Swannington Railway, shortly after the track was taken up, 7/4/1968.
This portal was later sealed and buried. Houses now cover this area.
7-of-18) The west portal of Glenfield Tunnel (the Glenfield end), Leicester and Swannington Railway, after traffic had ceased, 14/3/1967.
This portal was later sealed but has a locked door to allow access to the tunnel.
8-of-18) The west portal of Glenfield Tunnel (the Glenfield end), Leicester and Swannington Railway, after traffic had ceased, 14/3/1967.
The siding on the left leads to the Glenfield Coal & Coke Co.
9-of-18) The west portal of Glenfield Tunnel and the derelict Glenfield Station, Leicester and Swannington Railway, after traffic had ceased, 4/3/1967.
Passenger services had ended in September 1928, nearly 40 years previously, though the station building was retained for use as a goods office until 1965.
10-of-18) According to a local resident, this wagon, one of several stored on the line near Groby Quarry junction, had its brakes released by vandals and was pushed towards Glenfield. Fortunately, at Mill Lane level crossing the wagon was halted when the wheel flanges got stuck in mud. 4/3/1967.
11-of-18) The Glenfield Premier Brick & Terracotta Co. was sited alongside the railway between Glenfield and Ratby. This appears to be an office building. 29/4/1967.
12-of-18) The Glenfield Premier Brick & Terracotta Co. brickworks alongside the railway between Glenfield and Ratby. On the left are three kilns. 29/4/1967.
13-of-18) Stored wagons between Glenfield & Ratby, looking east, 4/3/1967.
The middle track of the complicated point leads in the distance out of the picture to the left and led to the Groby granite quarries.
14-of-18) The truncated branch to Groby Quarries from the ex-Leicester & Swannington Railway, near Glenfield, 4/3/1967.
15-of-18) The platform of Ratby station, ex-Leicester & Swannington Railway, looking east, 10/7/1967.
The white building on the left is the Railway Inn.
17-of-18) Level crossing over Desford Lane, between Ratby and Desford, ex-Leicester & Swannington Railway, looking east towards Ratby, 10/7/1967.
18-of-18) Desford ex-Midland Railway station and station-master’s house after closure to passengers, 10/7/1967.
Note that although the platform edge has been cut back the original low height platform in front of the buildings and its transition to the normal height of the platform extension can be easily seen.
Along the line from Glenfield Tunnel to Desford Junction, 1965 & 1968
Unless otherwise indicated, the photographs in these railway photograph galleries are available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. Attribution should include a link to www.nigeltout.com.
16-of-18) This very evocative photograph of a train pulled by ex-Midland Railway 2F 0-6-0 58148 at the level crossing in Ratby was taken from the station platform by an unknown photographer on 14/12/1963.
58148 was a regular performer on this line and was a locomotive that I had seen, but the RailUK website notes that it was recorded as sadly withdrawn a couple of weeks later on 31/12/1963. So I was very pleased to obtain this original slide of it.