The Charnwood Forest Railway, backed mostly by local interests, was incorporated by an Act of 1874 to build an 11½-mile line from Nuneaton Junction near, Coalville in Leicestershire on the Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Railway (L&NWR/MR), to Loughborough. The line opened on 16 April 1883 and was worked by the London & North Western Railway in return for 50% of the gross receipts. There were stations at Coalville East, Whitwick, Shepshed and Loughborough Derby Road. The branch was a very picturesque one, passing as it did through Charnwood Forest, and it was a mass of bluebells in the Spring, resulting in the epithet, "The Bluebell Line" — although it was not the only line to be so termed! The major engineering work on the line was the elegant 6-arch 40-yard Grace Dieu Viaduct near Whitwick, which happily remains intact. Unfortunately there was no connection with either the Midland or Great Central Railway at Loughborough, which might have brought more traffic onto the line. As a result of being unable to pay the interest on debenture stocks and partly due to financial malfeasance by the Secretary, the line went into bankruptcy in 1885 and continued under the administration of a Receiver until 1909. With the Grouping of 1923 it was absorbed into the LMS. Three halts were opened on the line at Thringstone, Grace Dieu and Snells Nook in 1907. The never successful line went into a decline after World War I and passenger traffic was withdrawn on 13 April 1931, followed by goods services on 12 December 1963.
1903 Railway Clearing House Junction Diagram showing the Charnwood Forest Railway
London & North Western Railway steam railmotor at Whitwick station in around 1910
Grace Dieu Viaduct in a postcard view of around 1905