John Speller's Web Pages Leicester - Burton Branch

John Speller's Web Pages - Midland Railway
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The Leicester to Burton-on-Trent branch of the Midland Railway had its inception in one of the earliest steam railways in Britain, the 16-mile Leicester & Swannington Railway, which received the Royal Assent on 29 May 1830. The engineer was George Stephenson. The line opened to Bagworth on 17 July 1832 but was not completed to Swannington until the end of 1833. The line was noteworthy for having the first locomotive to be fitted with a whistle or steam trumpet as it was then known.

On 20 August 1845 the shareholders of the Leicester & Swannington Railway unanimously resolved to sell the company to the Midland Railway, which was accomplished by an Act of 24 July 1846. The Leicester & Swannington Railway Extension Act of 2 July 1847 authorized the Midland Railway to make a deviation at the Leicester end of the line to avoid an inclined plane and connect with their own main line, and to complete the line from Swannington to Burton-on-Trent, a distance of just under 14 miles. The engineer of the extension was Robert Stephenson and it opened on 1 August 1849. The major engineering work on this extension was the Twelve Bridges Viaduct. The line closed to passenger traffic under the Beeching Axe of the 1964, but is still open for goods traffic.

Map of the Midland Railway's Burton-on-Trent Branch showing the abandoned route of the original Leicester & Swannington Railway. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
The simple Doric elegance of the Midland Railway's Ashby-de-la-Zouch station, surely one of the finest provincial stations in Britain. Image courtesy of Oliver Dixon, Creative Commons
Former LMS "4-F" Class 0-6-0 No. 44252 outside the Engine Shed at Coalville in June 1955. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
Kirby Muxloe Station in a postcard view of around 1910
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