John Speller's Web Pages Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Railway (L&NWR/MR)

John Speller's Web Pages - L&NWR/MR Joint Committee

Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Railway (L&NWR/MR) LNWR Untitled MR Horizontal Menu Untitled
In the 1866 session of Parliament there was an unholy row between the London & North Western Railway and Midland Railways over two separate lines the Midland's Settle & Carlisle line in competition with the L&NWR's West Coast Main Line, and the Ashby & Nuneaton line, where both railways put forward rival schemes. On the Ashby & Nuneaton Junction Railway, however, a compromise was reached whereby the proposed line was to be operated jointly by the two companies. The line did not actually run to Ashby-de-la-Zouch but to Woodville Junction, about 3/4 mile west of Ashby on the Midland Railway's Leicester to Burton-on-Trent line. There was also a branch from Shackerstone to Swannington, which joined the Midland Railway at Hugglescote Junction just south of Coalville. Construction began in August 1869, and the joint line opened to goods traffic on 1 August 1873 and to passengers a month later.

In 1878 the Locomotive Superintendent of the L&NWR, Francis Webb, used the Ashby & Nuneaton line for the trials of the first compound locomotive in Britain, 6 ft. 2-2-2 No. 1874, rebuilt from Trevithick Single No. 54 "Medusa." No. 1874 was built according to the system of compounding patented by Anatole Mallet, by coincidence (or not?) in the year 1874. The locomotive had two 15 in. 20 in. cylinders, but the left hand cylinder was lined to 9 in. to be the high pressure cylinder. The driver could choose to admit either low pressure or high pressure steam to the high pressure cylinder at will.

Overseal & Moira station closed in 1904, after which trains ran through to Moira and Ashby on the Midland Railway. The line declined following World War I and passenger service ceased on 12 April 1931. Goods service was withdrawn on 1 July 1971 and the track was removed in 1973. The section between Shenton and Shackerstone has subsequently been reopened as the Battlefield Line, a Heritage Railway.
Map of the Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Railway extracted from two Railway Clearing House Junction Diagrams
Midland Railway train behind 0-4-4 tank No. 2081 at Market Bosworth in around 1905
An early photograph of Moira & Overseal station with a train behind an Allan 2-2-2
A Midland train behind a 2-2-2 locomotive at Market Bosworth station, close to the site of the Battle of Bosworth Field
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